The conceit of this series is in the title. Squirrel Girl can vanquish any foe. It helps that being decidedly cute, with buck teeth and furry tail, bad guys see her as a joke. She just sees easy prey, villains to be tossed aside so ordinary folk can get on with their lives.
Or, in this debut issue by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, ordinary squirrels. The rodent in question is her faithful companion Tippy-Toe, who’s less than pleased that Squirrel Girl is moving out of Avengers Mansion. She’s enrolling on a computer course at Empire State University, but Tippy-Toe reckons she should be studying, well, squirrels. Squirrel Girl points out, quite reasonably, that she already knows everything about her furry friends.
Hoping to settle into her secret identity as Doreen Green, student about campus, she disguises her squirrel strength from friendly freshman Tomas and spiky, but basically nice, roommate Nancy (and her cat Mew). Happily, neither are on hand when Kraven the Hunter swings by, and takes a major dislike to Tippy-Toe. How can she possibly defeat one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes?
Buy this comic and find out. For your money you’ll get a delightful, breezy story featuring one of the happiest people in the Marvel Universe. North’s script is clever, the gags speak to character and Doreen even has her own theme song … well, her own in that she’s repurposed the old Spidey cartoon tune. And it only scans if you read it with that odd North American pronunciation of ‘squirrel’ that denies the fact it’s a word made up of two, not one, syllables. But still, it’s fun, and gives a bit of basic information for anyone new to Squirrel Girl.
Henderson tweaks ‘Squirl’ Girl’s regular look to make it more daytime, less superheroic, and the approach works well – ditching the creepy mime artist eye make-up may not help our heroine keep her identity secret, but it’s a definite improvement. The animated style helps skew this comic towards all-ages, being accessible but not kiddyish. What I love is that Henderson draws her protagonist with realistic, human proportions, and poses her appropriately – no brokeback nonsense here. The only thing I’m not keen on are the Alice Band earpieces, which made Squirrel Girl look a tad too woodland goddess.
While likely intended to add extra value, the little lines of running commentary at the bottom of each page interrupt the flow, are a bugger to read being in tiny, yellow print, and don’t really add anything.
Love this as I do, I’m surprised it’s an ongoing – the ‘unbeatable’ aspect screams mini-series – heck, next issue’s big gag, Squirrel Girl vs Galactus, was done 30 years ago in Dazzler. Still, we’ll see how it goes – this issue earns the creative team the benefit of the doubt, being a delightfully clever, thoroughly refreshing look at a superhero who’s really rather average – in a good way.