Being a superhero offers a number of challenges that the average college student doesn’t have to deal with. Things like waking up to discover that you’ve been sent back in time five decades, your student housing no longer exists and that the people of the past are staring at you because of your strange futuristic pajamas.
Or maybe they’re staring because you have a tail and are talking to your best friend, who is a squirrel. Yes. That might be more likely.
Regardless, this is what happened to Doreen Green a.k.a. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! And unbeknownst to her (but knownst to us) her presence has been erased from the rest of the timeline. Not even her own parents in the present remember her!
The only person who does remember Doreen? Her roommate Nancy. Unfortunately, Nancy is about the only person Doreen knows who ISN’T a superhero who knows someone with access to a time machine. And Nancy is not exactly the most credible witness for convincing people that there’s a young woman named Doreen Green that they can’t remember, who is stuck in the past and in serious danger of creating a reality-destroying paradox the longer she’s there.
How did this happen? Who is responsible for Squirrel Girl being trapped in the past and erased from the present? And why is Doctor Doom on the cover of this book? Is this related somehow? Or is it just a cheap gimmick to drive up sales? Will we ever get a straight answer? Why am I asking you? When will I stop asking rhetorical questions?
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is that rarest of all beasts – a comic book that is both fun and funny, while still being a good action-packed adventure. There is humor in this book and a number of laugh out loud moments. Yet there is also a playful sense of fun and adventure that is lacking in most modern comics. You can tell that writer Ryan North is having fun with his work on this series, even without the occasional remarks from the writer (or the characters) in the margins under the comics.
“Guess how much research I did to ensure that Tippy actually is the first time-traveling
squirrel in the Marvel Universe? Anaswer: several hours worth. But ‘research’ actually
means ‘sitting around reading other comics,’ so it’s actually no big deal!”
The artwork by Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi is a perfect match for North’s scripts. Henderson’s style has a cute yet manic energy to it. And Renzi’s colors pop on the page, making even the scenes where Nancy reads through Doreen’s collection of Deadpool’s Guide To Super Villains fact cards visually interesting.
These cards, incidentally, are one of the better running gags in the series so far. They also offer special guest artists (Chip Zdarsky, David Robbins and Matt Digges, in this case) a chance to show off their skills. Although one wonders how the cards still exist if Doreen never existed to purchase them? Presumably they’re protected from the Fourth Wall in the same way that Deadpool is?
There are some people who will say that The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is stupid. These people should be pelted with stale acorns. Well, perhaps that’s a bit much. But there’s a whole big Marvel Universe out there and there is room enough for books like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl that poke fun at how gloriously silly superhero comics can be while telling a great story with fun artwork.