This is the first collection of Squirrel Girl comic books published as a graphic novel. It includes Squirrel Girl 1-4, plus the first Marvel comics story featuring her, The Coming of... Squirrel Girl! (Marvel Super-Heroes (1990) #8).

Squirrel Girl is a very minor heroine in the Marvel Universe -- or she was until just recently. She has spruced up with modern artwork and better dialog, entered college, and started beating up the big supervillains. She has witty banter, a solid foundation in scientific literacy, and a full set of supervillain reference cards. And she's not afraid to use them.

These first four issues follow her moving into her college dorm, meeting her equally-nerdy roommate, meeting a cute guy, and beating Kraven, Galactus, Whiplash, and assorted bank robbers and muggers in her spare time. To be honest, there's not any more of a plot than there is in the average Marvel comic (disclaimer; I actually have very little experience with comics of any sort, so this may not be true), but the writing and characters are much less stilted than the traditional comic. I base this largely on the reprint of the 1990 story in which she first appears, trying to sign on as Ironman's sidekick -- which was really pretty awful.

Given that there's not much of a plot to describe and that spoilers are bad, I will simply say that Squirrel Girl is half Squirrel, has a squirrel sidekick, and can talk to squirrels; she is always open to non-zero-sum outcomes and enjoys lampshading classic comic tropes. She is a hip young millennial nerd, and if she makes constant silly pop-culture references to comic book heroes this does not hurt her nerd-cred at all, as it is usually immediately relevant to her continued survival. Overall, a pretty decent read, and an excellent introduction to the lighter side of the Marvel Universe.

If you are not really into comic books but think you might like to check one out, I would highly recommend this collection. It is popular enough that I was able to pick up a copy at my local library, but it is also available at many book stores and comic shops, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $15.99. It is followed by a number of other Squirrel Girl collections, the next being The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True.

Squirrel Girl is written by Ryan North and drawn by Erica Henderson. This collection includes art by a number of other illustrators, who designed alternate covers for the original comics, trading card art, and the original 1990 Squirrel Girl story.

Eats Nuts, Kicks Butts!

What Came Before

Squirrel girl, a.k.a. Doreen Green, was imagined as a lighthearted joke to counter-balance the deeply earnest tone of superhero comics. Her team-up with Iron Man and their battle with Doctor Doom struck just the right preposterous note to create a love of the character among comic fans and Marvel writers alike. The backing story in tuSG, dated as it may be, serves to set the stage for her modern incarnation.

Squirrel Girl popped up in various later contexts, notably as a member of the D-list superhero team the Great Lakes Avengers / X-Men / Champions / Initiative (it's complicated). During this time she interacts with Deadpool, another unlikely hero who is tonally different than mainstream Marvel. This leads to Squirrel Girls' acquisition of a key item, Deadpool's Guide to Super Villains, about which more anon.

Discounting minor appearance and one-shots, Doreen next appeared alongside the Avengers as nanny to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' daughter Danielle Cage (who will later become Captain America, and subsequently return to the current time to join the U.S.Avengers. (it's complicated)). She then leaves the Avengers to go to college, which is where tuSG picks up.

The Now That Was

I tell you all that so that I may tell you this :

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl launched in 2015 with Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) as writer and Erica Henderson as artist. A book that could have foundered on a one-note gimmick (Girl talks to squirrels, defeats Marvel's most powerful supervillains monthly) instead was fresh and amusing. Fans and reviewers alike were drawn to the series' fresh look, smart writing, and honestly empowered female lead.

Despite the preposterous elements (talking squirrel, "proportionate strength and speed of a squirrel," the aforementioned A-list villain beating) the series feels grounded. Doreen has the real concerns of a college student, they're just interrupted by inconvenient super-conflicts.

This is where Deadpool's 4,522 element trading-card set comes in handy, giving Squirrel Girl the pocket reference she needs when the more obscure characters come to call. Well, not always :

His card is just pointless backstory!
-Squirrel Girl re: Brain Drain (card 1011 of 4522)
so, I'm borrowing from the future. It's not like Marvel doesn't do it all day and twice on Sundays.

There's also the 1,622 card companion guide to super villain accessories, both tucked into Squirrel Girl's Batmanesque utility belt. The trading cards give various Marvel artists a way to cameo in the pages of tuSG for fun and profit. END TANGENT

Anyway...unlike Marvel's mainstream comics, Doreen isn't drawn by starting out with a pair of spheres. She has a realistic figure, and the body confidence to be proud of it (even when her concealed squirrel tail gives her the appearance of a "conspicuously large and conspicuously awesome butt"). Erica Henderson gives her characters a cartoonish edge (such as the facial expressions and Doreen's squirrely buck teeth) but realistic proportions and poses that never make you wonder when Doreen will be off to the chiropractor. Ryan's dialog (both internal and spoken) consistently portray her as optimistic and self-confident. And that attitude and positive approach help her to defeat, deflect, deter, and de-otherstuff the worst of Marvel's rogue's gallery.

Also, there is Galactus. Normally I despise Galactus. I love his look but you just know he'll get nerfed and your suspension of disbelief will sag like a 1976 Dodge Dart. But here it's all good.

If you like great dialog, fast-moving stories, and a light but loving take on the Marvel universe, this book's for you. As a not-totally-reformed Marvel fanboy, I recommend it unstintingly.

Squirrel Girl will return in The unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Vol. 2, Squirrel you know it's true, duh!


I'm holding it.

See also: the unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe

IN9, because I can't node only chart types, and Tem42 said it was OK.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.