Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

You know what I miss?  I miss comedy comics.  It seems like it’s been awhile since we’ve had good old-fashioned situational comedy comics from a major publisher.  I remember reading the old Mister Miracle series, Justice League International, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Blue Devil comics that focused on the characters and the weird situations super heroes must find themselves in.  Especially the old Mister Miracle series, there were times when that series was legit laugh out loud funny. So when I heard about a Squirrel Girl comic I was immediately interested in what direction they were going to go in.  I love Squirrel Girl, she’s tied for number one with Howard the Duck as my most favorite character ever.  If pressed for an answer I couldn’t really tell you why, she just is.  She’s had her share of interesting moments in the pages of the Great Lakes Avengers and New Avengers both versions offering different things.  GLA was more comedy driven, not really funny comedy but comedy nonetheless, and gave us a cute, bouncy, non-threatening Squirrel Girl totally unaware of how dangerous she was even as she beat Thanos.  New Avengers gave us a more purposed Squirrel Girl as Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' nanny.  She was more adult, more serious and occasionally portrayed as a heavy even beating Wolverine in a fight once.  She had some really great, definitive character moments in both series.  With such a spectrum they could have taken her long-awaited solo series anywhere.  Luckily they put it square into the situational comedy that I miss so much and she falls somewhere in the middle of her two portrayals.

Unbeatable-Squirrel-Girl-#1-1-21-15The series gives Squirrel Girl a serious edge but the witty writing and cartoony art soften that edge in a fun way.  Speaking of the art it’s really kind of niche.  By the time I finished the issue I was used to it but it didn’t do much for me sitting on the comic shelf and if I wasn’t determined to buy it I probably would have passed.  I digress.  The story follows Squirrel Girl as she leaves Avengers Mansion to go back to Empire State University for computer science.  Which, I guess, means she’s no longer part of the Avengers universe and in her own thing.  In the midst of her trying to become incognito, meeting her interesting dorm mate and trying to fit in, her most trusted squirrel Tippy Toe is attacked by Kraven the Hunter.  This, of course, leads to a showdown.  The fight is pretty great and includes a part where Squirrel Girl just considers throwing him up into the air over and over again until, I quote, “…It’s the future where everything is awesome…”.  The fight doesn’t end in a punch face contest but instead her refocusing Kraven from Spider-Man to Giganto, which are massive whales with arms and legs.

The issue is filled with great bits.  She sings the Squirrel Girl song in the opening panels which is sung to the tune of the 60’s Spider-Man animated series theme song.  She consults “Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villain’s” which provides some pretty great commentary on both Kraven and Giganto (he’s unsure if the plural for Giganto is “Giganto” or “Giganto’s”).  She’s just adorable as a person walking the fine line between cute/awkward and manic-pixie-dream girl.  She calls Kraven a “Jerk who sucks” and her internal fight strategy session involves squirrels in pants/squirrels on head/tossing him up into the air indefinitely which is just such a bizarre thought process.  I know I criticized the art earlier but it does work on the page to match the tone, it doesn’t really work as a cover though.  I think they’d be better served either having Skottie Young do his trademark kiddie style or put something more dynamic there to draw people to the issue on the shelf (in fairness they did do a lot of variant covers that accomplished that, including one by Skottie Young, none of which were at my local comic store).  All in all a really enjoyable read, a great take on the character and something different on the shelves from one of the Big Two.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Ryan North Artist: Erica Henderson Colorist: Rico Renzi Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/7/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital