Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Who would have thought that a college-age female super hero who can talk to squirrels would beat up Spider-man, steal a suit from Iron Man, and subdue Galactus (Devourer of Worlds), all in one week? And mostly without actually fighting — except when she has to.

You see, Squirrel Girl, aka Doreen Green, the completely normal college student at Empire State University, is called upon to save the world from a variety of colorful and dangerous villains. Which she does with humor and bravery, and possibly some flirting with cute college guys (who also turn out to be super heroes).

Reality bites! from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol 1, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

There is so much to love about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl  (Marvel), but mostly I love the humor. Bust-a-gut antics abound on every page of this book, much of it in clever dialogue. On this page, Doreen entreats a crowd of people who have been influenced toward violence by the supernatural Asgardian squirrel, Ratatoskr. Squirrel Girl concludes her unusually long speech with, “Let’s be the change we’re insecure and jealous about in the world!” (which is, obviously, a riff on the Dalai Lama’s famous quote, which I heard mentioned in every graduation speech I listened to this spring).

Instead of complying, Spider-Man looks at his neighbor in a wonderfully cinematic pause, then shouts, “Get her!! Tear her apart!” Funny stuff.

Also hilarious is Doreen’s commentary at the bottom of the page. Here is an example of this commentary: “Is this truly the first time Wikipedia has been used in the middle of a super hero fight? Can someone check Wikipedia real quick?” You’re tempted to ignore this commentary because it breaks the flow, but it is worth reading for the humor.

Some adults may feel that Squirrel Girl is for kids, and they would be right. But the humor is so multi-layered that adults will enjoy it as well as children. The caricatured villains are entertaining, especially if you know the villains from other, more serious treatments. For instance, when Galactus says contemptuously of Thanos (after hearing how Squirrel Girl and squirrel friend Tippy-Toe beat him up), “Hah hah Nice What a tool” you have to smile.

A nice surprise in this volume is that hunky Tomas, whom Doreen meets on her first day of school, turns out to be a super hero who can talk to animals, just like her. Her roommate, Nancy Whitehead, although not technically a super hero, turns out to be a great friend and saves the day in her own way late in the book.

Squirrel Girl contains so much to love I can’t mention it all here. Go out an get this book and have a blast.