The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

by RemyLeBeauOverdrive on January 07, 2015

Words by Ryan North
Art by Erica Henderson
Color Art by Rico Renzi

If you'd approached me last summer and told me that Squirrel Girl would soon have her own ongoing title, the conversation might have deadended with an uncontrollable fit of joyous laughter that may have only just subsided in the present.

Squirrel Girl! Her own series!

Oh, what a time to be alive!

Don't get me wrong, the laughter wouldn't have been dismissive. The character is so completely bizarre that exploration is absolutely necessary at this point. She’s sort of like Marvel’s answer to Aquaman, only instead of a grown dude talking to fish and swimming in the ocean it’s a teenage girl talking to squirrels and climbing trees. If this doesn’t sound like a useful skillset, consider for a moment that Squirrel Girl has bested the likes of Doctor Doom and Thanos. Please let that sink in for a moment. Now, not only has she scored some solo wins over various Big Bads on Earth-616, but she was also unaffected by the depowering of millions of mutants. These facts, for me, make her possibly the most curious character, hero or villain, in the entire Marvel Universe.

Now, my draw to this title wasn’t based on gleeful shock of its existence alone. Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics and writer behind the wonderful Adventure Time comic put out by kaBOOM! Studios, on writing duties sounded like a perfect fit for this book on paper. And hey, fortunately for us reality matches the paper this time around! Ryan North’s take on Squirrel Girl is instantly equal parts charming and funny, which I say entirely without hyperbole. His characterization is rich from the first panel onward through the last, with little notes from Squirrel Girl regularly adding extra sprinkles of charm. Whether it be dialogue, the aforementioned notes, or the action of the book, everything works to establish a connection between the reader and Squirrel Girl, to say nothing of her squirrel army. 

However, North’s words aren’t alone in making Squirrel Girl a character you’ll want to cheer for and maybe help forage for nuts come winter. The art from Erica Henderson fits the character and the story perfectly. The cartoonish style adds a spunky, cute quality to Squirrel Girl that further enables her to stand out in a universe often populated with art styles aiming for realism. Further adding to this all-encompassing feeling of exceptionality is Rico Renzi on the colors, who makes me wish I was more capable of breaking down and detailing everything that’s going on artistically. The color palate feels spot on, adding layers of rich colors that enhance the art style, and there’s so much detail in the shading of every single panel. Seriously, every single panel.

With a character as unique as Squirrel Girl, there were no inherent guarantees that this book would be a winner. Even as a fan of the character, I was cautiously optimistic going into this, doing my best to mitigate my expectations. But based on this first issue, there was really no need for restrained enthusiasm. Marvel assembled a creative team with crazy awesome talent and what appears to be real affection for the character. With lesser or even just different components, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl might have been a one-dimensional joke. Fortunately for us, though, this iteration truly lives up to its title. 

I would highly recommend The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 to anyone who wants to read a cute, clever, and ultimately fun book. Even in its inaugural issue, it has laid a promising foundation for a character bursting with personality, and all signs point to a story that's going places! In fact, based on the final panel, it appears there are gonna be some mighty big challengers for Squirrel Girl to go nuts on! And as someone who loves comics, I couldn't be happier.

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