Squirrel Girl's New Graphic Novel Proves She Should Be Your Fave Marvel Superhero
Not familiar with Marvel's Squirrel Girl?
Shame on you! Or not. While she's one of my fave superheroes of all time (this Funko Pop bobblehead courtesy of Marvel's Collector Corps. box is one of my prized possessions), she's not necessarily one of Marvel's more famous characters.
But I do hope her new fantastic graphic novel, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe, will really put her on the map.
Written by Dinosaur Comics author Ryan North and drawn and colored by artist Erica Henderson, it brings the relatively obscure character to the forefront of Marvel's history in a major way. Though she may not look it, Squirrel Girl is fully capable of beating up the entire Marvel universe.
Squirrel Girl is the superhero alter ego of Doreen Green, a college computer science student who also happens to possess super squirrely powers. She has a giant bushy tail, big front teeth with special gnawing powers and the proportionate strength of squirrel. And—most importantly—she can communicate with squirrels.
With the help of her sidekick, a clever squirrel named Tippy-Toe, plus her non-superpowered bestie and fellow computer science student Nancy Whitehead, she tries to balance school life and fighting crime. Classmates with the secret identities of Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk help, too.
Doreen has long sought after respect from Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, and in this story she finally catches his attention. During a meeting with Tony, he and Squirrel Girl's team are ambushed by bad guys.
Things seem hopeless, until through a series of inventions involving a mysterious machine, Squirrel Girl is miraculously cloned. A second, seemingly totally identical Squirrel Girl named Allene comes into being, and since two Squirrel Girls are better than one, and they immediately take down the bad guys.
The Squirrel Girls make the perfect team. So Doreen and the clone Allene decide to take their heroism to the next level, coming up with a plan to save humankind, and the world, with the help of a massive squirrel army's humanitarian efforts.
But things don't stay so perfect for long. When the two Squirrel Girls spot a dead squirrel in the street, their starkly different reactions prove they're not as alike as they once thought. Allene can't stand to live in a world where squirrels' lives aren't valued as much as those of humans, and she runs off.
When Doreen and Nancy finally track her down a few days later, Allene has reformulated the original plan to save mankind. This time, it's all about saving squirrels at any cost, and let's just say humans don't really factor in to her extravagant plans.
Allene uses Tony Stark's machine to clone her own army of obedient squirrels that will obey her orders. Allene is shocked when the original Squirrel Girl Doreen won't go along with the plan, and the always-loyal Tippy-Toe becomes one of the few squirrels not loyal to Allene.
Doreen, not happy to let this stand, recruits the help of Marvel's most powerful superheroes to take down Allene. Should be a piece of cake, right?
Wrong, because Allene's plot makes her one of the most devious Marvel villains yet. She plans to defeat each hero one at a time, starting with the weakest, and she steals each hero's abilities in the process. With each win, she grows stronger and stronger, allowing her to take on consecutively stronger foes.
It's not long before Allene beats up the Marvel universe—that's the name of the graphic novel, after all. I don't plan to spoil what happens next, but Doreen has her work cut out for her if she plans to stop her doppelgänger.
In addition to its creative plot, which cleverly reveals that Squirrel Girl is actually one of the smartest, strongest heroes around, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Defeats the Marvel Universe is funny.
Squirrel Girl is an admittedly silly superhero, and this graphic novel finds the perfect tone to tell her story. Allene and her diverse group of friends are spunky and relatable and their jokes really hit home. With Deadpool popping in occasionally to provide fourth-wall breaking jokes, the comic's signature humor is apparent in every frame.
But that doesn't stop it from also being serious and meaningful when it needs to be. Allene truly believes she's doing the right thing by dedicating herself to saving the squirrels, even when we the readers know that defeating all of Marvel's heroes isn't the way to go about it.
This comic has actual stakes, with the existence of humankind hanging in the balance thanks to one person's actions. And Doreen has to struggle with the fact that, with just one small change to her personality, she could be Allene.
Ryan North does a fantastic job making Squirrel Girl an unmissable character within the Marvel canon. If you read this comic and you're still not a Squirrel Girl fan, then shame on you—for real this time.
Squirrel Girl deserves her own movie, stat. Click HERE to see my list of female superheroes (including Squirrel Girl) who need their own films.