Doreen Green kicks butts and eats nuts as The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. But this was not always so! There was a time, dear reader, unthinkable as it may seem, when there was no Squirrel Girl!
There was a time when a boy met a girl. They fell in love and soon two became three. Boy and Girl had become Father and Mother… with a perfect little baby girl, with a big bushy tail.
There was a time when that girl, taught to hide who she was from the neighborhood children, celebrated her fifth birthday in a mostly normal way.
There was a time when that girl, friendless and lonely after moving to a new school, discovered that she could talk to the squirrels in her backyard and began to dream of being something besides a normal girl.
There was a time when that girl, fresh off her first meeting with another superhero, just happened to get caught up in the middle of a battle between The Hulk and The Abomination.
There was a time when that girl, now a respected superhero with lots of superhero friends, celebrated her birthday in style. And in a time yet to come…
Ah, but that would be telling…
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #16 is everything you could hope for in an anniversary issue. The stories contained here have the usual levels of humor we’ve come to expect from Ryan North but there’s also an unexpected level of poignancy as we see just how Doreen was inspired at a young age by her first squirrel friend, Monkey Joe. This sort of optimism is sadly rare in modern comics and it’s one of the things that makes this series so enjoyable. The story of 15-year-old Doreen teaming up with a blind Hulk – written by Squirrel Girl co-creator Will Murray – is somewhat more serious in scope, but blends in easily enough with North’s larger narrative.
With the exception of one recycled Steve Ditko image, Erica Henderson illustrated this issue in its entirety. Her open, animated style is a good match for the tone of North’s scripts. Colorist Rico Renzi completes the finished art with a bright, vivid palette that fills every panel with energy.
I’ve seen many dismiss Unbeatable Squirrel Girl due to it’s silly story-lines and upbeat artwork. Their loss. This book is a welcome antidote to the grimness that has taken over the Marvel Universe and proof that great comics don’t have to take themselves seriously.