Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1

Words cannot properly express how mind-blowingly awesome this comic is.


"Wait a second.  Isn't this about a 'superhero' who's half-squirrel, half-girl?  This sounds like the corniest idea ever."

Tell me that again after you've been swarmed and immobilized by hundreds of angry squirrels.

Squirrel Girl actually isn't a brand-new creation; she first appeared in an X-Men comic harassing Doctor Doom with Wolverine (this issue is included in the back of the trade, which was quite nice for newbies like me).  It was that strange, strange time in comics, when writers were evidently getting smashed on lots of fun substances and churning out comics with positively bizarre "heroes."  Like Anarchist, who sweats acid, or Squirrel Girl's former squadmate in the Great Lakes Avengers, Big Bertha.  Note to self: hunt down GLA and have fun.  Note to everyone else: it's not totally ridiculous that the Great Lakes Avengers would be based in Milwaukee.  Come for the beer, stay for the beer.  Eat cheese and sausages to grow strong.  And I certainly don't doubt the mutant-making powers of the Milwaukee River.  Heck, even Alice Cooper thought Milwaukee was cool!


Actually, it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que," which is Algonquin for "the good land."
So, Squirrel Girl.  She is half human, half squirrel.  No beating around the bush here.  She has a tail and a nice big nutcracking tooth, but otherwise looks human.  However, she does speak many dialects of squirrel, and has a squirrel sidekick named Tippy-Toe.  She's smart, self-confident, hilarious, and unconventional.  To put it mildly.

Doreen Green, AKA Squirrel Girl, is off to college.  Tippy-Toe doubts her ability to fit in, but as it turns out, a tail tucked into one's pants gives you an awesome butt, of which Squirrel Girl is proud, not ashamed.  Werk.  Unfortunately, her squirrel strength (lifting thing proportionally larger than what humans can) and mad acrobatic skills, not to mention a propensity to disappear when crime is afoot, arouse the suspicions of her wonderfully prickly and opinionated roommate, Nancy.

Turns out that via the Squirrel version of Twitter, Doreen learns that Galactus (yes, Devourer of Worlds, Meta-Villain, He of the Strange Linear Hat Design) is headed back to Earth.

Again.

None of the other superheroes know, so it's up to Doreen to save the day, all while proving that she is, indeed, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, unlike the merely Amazing Spider-Man (whose theme song will be stuck in your head after the first issue.  I guarantee it, just like John Hammond).



Since squirrels don't, as a rule, travel to outer space, SG needs a mode of transportation.  How about Tony Stark's Iron Man suit?  Tony owes her a faaa-vooooor...

But she's interrupted by Whiplash, who, I'm glad to say, looks nothing like the horrifying vision of Mickey Rourke in chaps.  This Whiplash got into the Manic Panic.  Hipster Whiplash.  Anyway, it's amazing what hundreds of squirrels can do.

FINALLY: SPACE.  GALACTUS.  THE MOON.  Doreen's inventive and hilarious method of stopping the Earth from being eaten is perfect.

I lost count of how many times I burst into unbridled laughter at the wittiness of this comic.  The style is definitely not 90s Brooding Noir, so if that's what you like, uh, go read another comic.  This one has Galactus on the Marvel version of Twitter.  The dialogue is very current (read: Millennial) and I loved that too.  Squirrel Girl is just one of us ... but she's also part squirrel.  So, not really one of us. Dangit.

Erica Henderson's art is fantastic.  Some people seem upset that she made Squirrel Girl more "cartoony," to which I say, "Chikchik cheeeek chikchik!"  Um, she's Squirrel Girl.  That's just on its knees begging for more exaggerated artwork.  Helloooooo.  Plus, Doreen isn't super-thin with humongous gazongas.  I mean, when was the last time you saw a squirrel shaped like Gisele?  Doreen loves her body and owns every panel she's in.

This volume also includes fanmail at the end of each issue, and be on the lookout for something sneaky at the bottom of each page...

While you're over there devouring this comic, I'm off to go find a shirt that says EATS NUTS KICKS BUTTS.  And begging North and Henderson to actually create a deck of Deadpool Collectible cards.

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