We're on an emotional roller coaster this month. And after a couple of downbeat books about soldiers and wartime, it's time to cheer things right up again with some superhero whimsy and the volume one of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, first published under the now sadly defunct Marvel Now line which was a line-wide attempt to bring new readers to Marvel by rebooting and restarting most of their on-goings. It got me well back into Marvel but the initiative seems to have been binned (same as the DC You was) post Secret Wars 2015. Anyway, first created in 1992 and appearing in a team-up with Iron Man where she beats Doctor Doom, Squirrel Girl has always been a light-hearted superheroine. She has a squirrel tail, powerful teeth and great strength and agility as well as the ability to summon a great amount of squirrels to do her bidding. She's bounced round the Marvel U for a long time, her most notable appearences as leader of the Great Lakes Avengers and then as part of the New Avengers as nanny to Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's daughter. But this series sees her moving out of the Avenger's mansion with her faithful, be-ribboned squirrel companion "Tippy-Toe" to start college. But that doesn't mean she's stopped fighting crime or other threats to the city and world. Read on and hopefuly be amused by writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson's charming and funny take on Doreen Green, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (rather wonderfully this volume contains the letters pages as well, I say this now as it's the set up for a joke in the book later).
|Squirrel Girl fighting crime.|
She goes to her secret hideaway in the Avenger's Mansion to collect the last of her things as she is moving into her college digs today and the fact that Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl is "privileged information" now. Tippy-Toe doesn't see why she needs to keep her identity a secret, "who doesn't like you?" As Squirrel Girl changes she says, "jerks I guess".
Tippy-Toe asks if she needs help from the "squirrel army" to move her boxes, but Squirrel Girl says she is to act normal now, and tucks her tail into her trousers so it looks like she has a "large and conspicously awesome butt". As she carries a huge pile of boxes, she tells Tippy-Toe that getting educated will let her help people more.
Tippy-To asks if she is studying crime, nope Squirrel Girl is taking computer science. Tippy-Toe is outraged she isn't going to major in squirrels, but Squirrel Girl says she knows literally everything about them.
Squirrel Girl: "I'm Squirrel Girl. I'm not Achieving Consistency Across Distributed Database Systems Girl".
On her way into the dorm she bumps into a handsome young man who introduces himself as Tomas and asks if she needs help with her boxes. He says the boxes look really quite heavy and Squirrel Girl realises she's using her super-strength so she drops them and introduces herself.
She arrives in the room she is to be sharing with another girl. She is already there and is a frowning black girl called Nancy Whitehead. She says there are three things "Doreen" can do to get on her bad side, make fun of her name, criticise her hobby (knitting) and talk smack about her pet cat Mew.
Squirrel Girl says she thought pets weren't allowed in the dorms. Nancy says "obeying an unjust law is itself unjust" and that Mew is the most important thing in her life. I like Nancy already! Squirrel Girl starts to unpack then suddenly sees Kraven the Hunter, an arch enemy of Spider-man outside and has to hurriedly run off and get changed.
Kraven is standing in the grounds holding a squirrel that attacked him. Squirrel Girl politely but firmly asks him to put the squirrel down. He refuses and is about to crush it when Squirrel Girl dives on him from above. He kicks her away and calls her "Prairie Dog Costume Woman" and then "Furry Woodland Creature Lady".
She kicks him and he grabs her feet and holds her upside-down. He then tosses her aside and fires a sticky net to hold her in place. But she bites through it and makes a chittering noise. He asks her what she is saying and she says "sic him".
A whole horde of squirrels come rushing towards them. He threatens to kill them all so she stops to talk tactics with them. She realises they don't actually have a reason to be fighting. She starts to reason with him instead. She says that he's convinced himself that only Spider-man can defeat him:
Squirrel Girl: "And you can't beat Spider-man... but you can't lose to him either, not in the way you want. You think you have to go through life as a failure, because you can't die. You can't live the life you want and you can't earn the death you deserve".
She then goes on to ask him why Spider-man? Kraven says it's his speed and agility and strength. But Squirrel Girl tells him that he's been limiting himself to the same beings he hunted as a mortal. Why not try hunting the underwater monsters like Gigantos, Kraken, Giant Squid. "Kraven there's no greater game" she tells him.
|Better game for Kraven.|
Nancy tells her the course admin did mess up her course selections. She holds up Mew and says she's going to kill the admin to her. Another way Doreen can piss her off is judging her for talking to Mew, but Squirrel Girl says that's not a problem and introduces her to Tippy-Toe.
Nancy: "You know I was worried I'd get a weird roommate but you're all right Doreen Green".
Then another squirrel appears at the window and chitters at Tippy-Toe. With great alarm, Tippy-Toe clambers up Squirrel Girl to get her full attention.
|Everything about this picture makes me happy.|
As he sneaks up on Earth inside his "Star Sphere" we are told "no one on Earth has the sliver of a chance of stopping him.. except, perhaps for one girl". And we rejoin Squirrel Girl dragging Nancy to orientation with her. It's not just a campus tour, there are booths for clubs!
Squirrel Girl says there might be a knitting club. Nancy says she has interests besides knitting. Mainly Mew. Squirrel Girl says if there is no cat club they'll start one and the first rule will be you have to like Mew. Nancy agrees and says the second rule will be they have to talk about how much they like Mew.
They bump into Tomas again, she starts telling him about her fight with Kraven but the story goes a bit wrong:
Tomas: "You fought a college admin this morning, and now he lives underwater and hunts sea-monsters?"
Squirrel Girl: "Yes. Uh.. metaphorically.... so clubs huh?"
There then begins a conversation where he tells her about wanting to join fencing club but his voice is crowded out by her thought bubbles as she worries about all the lies she is telling already on day one and also that she's chatting up a hunk. "Doreen? Did my fencing club story lose you?" the poor guy finally says.
|Tomas and a somewhat distracted Squirrel Girl.|
Then Tippy-Toe appears and tells Squirrel Girl that it's the Star Sphere approaching Earth. Apparently it has a stealth field which means only the squirrels can see it which is why no one else is freaking out. "Aaaand our best estimates kinda put him at arriving at Earth in two hours" says Tippy-Toe. Squirrel Girl laments she has no time to join the anime club now, it's time to kick Galactus's butt.
She says she can't stop him on Earth so she'll have to engage him on the "gosh darned moon". She's going to knock him down and take a selfie sitting on top of him. She has a plan to get up there too. She puts on her crime fighting costume and bounces across New York.
Her plan is to break into Stark/Avenger's Tower and borrow an Iron Man suit to get herself and Tippy-Toe to the moon. We get a flashback to the first (terrifying) appearance when she teamed up with Iron Man and she thinks to herself, "man, I think everyone made some awkward fashion choices when they were fourteen". She uses her nails to cut an opening in the glass and crushes some acorns to highlight the protective lasers which she uses her super agility to travel through.
She has a pile of pieces, and picks up a helmet and asks it to construct a suit for her and Tippy-Toe. The helmet wants a password, which could be trouble but back when she helped Tony he said she only needed to say three words, "Victor Von Doomship" and the helmet comes online for her.
The pieces then float together into a Squirrel Girl shaped suit, including space for her tail. Tippy-Toe gets a small suit of her own made of a helmet and gauntlet. They put them on and start flying off to the moon, but in the park lurks danger in the form of Whiplash. And he thinks he sees "Iron Man" alone and exposed as the countdown to Galactus's arrival drops to under an hour...
|Iron Squirrel is go.|
She says she doesn't have time to fight him now, he says because Stark trusted her to lend her armour, "I hurt you, I hurt Stark". She says she just borrowed the armour and can they just talk about things like "well-adjusted, non-sociopathic adults?" He just attacks her with his whips.
She dodges his attacks while telling him Galactus is on his way. She shows him her Galactus trading card but he cuts it in half which pisses her off. She calls a pack of squirrels who run up his whips and swarm over him until he is completely covered in them. Then she punches him out and has fifty minutes to stop Galactus.
|Dealing with Whiplash.|
Squirrel Girl: "We don't stop that robbery then we're saving a planet where crime pays and hostages get shot. No, that's not how it's gonna be."
Inside the bank, Nancy is one of the hostages. When it looks like one of the other hostages is going to be shot, she bravely starts trash talking the robbers. Before she can get hurt, a humanoid figure made up of many squirrels barges in.
The robbers are left panicking as they had no back-up for this eventuality. The squirrel man knocks out the robbers and frees a gleeful Nancy. The squirrel man then brings the unconcious robbers out, and because it's Squirrel Girl inside the "suit" she tells Nancy she shouldn't have endangered herself back there. Nancy says she had to do something, and Squirrel Girl says to herself, "kick butt. My roomate is so awesome". As she heads back in to deal with the rest of the robbers, Nancy notices Tippy-Toe is part of the suit.
Inside, Squirrel Girl steps out of the Squirrel Suit and leaves it fighting them. She and Tippy-Toe get suited up and fly off up to the moon. The Iron Man suit seperates leaving her and Tippy-Toe in more manuoverable space suits. And then Galactus arrives:
Squirrel Girl: " It's just you and me - Tippy-Toe, The Regular Squirrel With No Superpowers, Like At All - against Galactus, The God of Oblivion. The Devourer of Worlds. I know it hardly seems fair. For him I mean".
And she leaps towards him... The next issue begins with her sitting on the prone Galactus taking a selfie and then we get the letters page because obviously that's the end of the issue.
|Galactus? pfft a pushover.|
Tippy-Toe says surely someone who has the Power Cosmic can hear sound in space and Squirrel Girl decides he can hear their vibrations and puts her hands on his foot and tells him, "we're here to kick butt and eat nuts-" but before she can finish he picks her up.
Galactus: "And let me guess. You are all out of nuts".
Squirrel Girl says that's about the gist of it, and Galactus can hear and understand both her and Tippy-Toe. He says for someone of his powers, understanding squirrels is no big deal.
After a short discussion on pronouns, Galactus says enough, he is here to kick butts and eat Earth. Squirrel Girl asks what happened to his Herald? Galactus says he tried that before, turns out sending someone to warn he was coming meant there were people ready for him when he arrived.
|Galactus has learned from his past mistakes.|
Galactus says to Squirrel Girl that he likes her because she treated him as a peer. And he likes Tippy-Toe as well and says she and Squirrel Girl are lucky to have each other. Then he says it's time to eat the Earth.
Squirrel Girl: "But I thought we were bonding".
Galactus: "We were. But a dude's got to eat".
He starts to fly off, Squirrel Girl flies after him and manages to get inside him. They come across a huge Commodore 64 keyboard. Now as every species sees Galactus differently it must apply to his insides as well. Now she has to guess his password.
As he gets close to Earth Squirrel Girl yells to him that she knows his secret, why he keeps coming to Earth but not eating it.
Squirrel Girl: "...you don't defeat Galactus by being stronger. You don't defeat Galactus by being smarter, either. The only way you ever defeat Galactus is by giving him what he wants. A source of energy. A planet he can eat".
She says he comes to Earth because he knows they'll drop everything to find him a planet he can eat without intelligent life and she's found him one. And it's covered in delicious nuts as well. Spare the Earth and she'll take him there. So they all fly off.
|To the planet of nuts!|
He sends her and Tippy-Toe and the Iron Squirrel suit back to Earth. Squirrel Girl sends the suit back to Stark Tower. She checks in on the squirrels she left fighting the bank robbers, but they have triumphed. Then it's time to rush to her first class.
She is late and seats herself next to Nancy who says she can copy her not-very-helpful notes. Nancy tells her she knows Squirrel Girl defeated the bank robbers earlier. But it's really rad so Squirrel Girl's secret is safe with her. Squirrel Girl says she will show her something after class. Nancy gets to be covered with Squirrels and has a mock fight with Squirrel Girl, "nobody is ever going to believe me" she says. And that brings this first arc to an end.
|Nancy knows Squirrel Girl's secret.|
|GAH! What the hell Steve?!|