"Hey" I hear you say, "haven't we already had a Book 1 for Squirrel Girl?" Well you can blame the 2015 Marvel Universal reboot that saw everything start back at issue 1 for that. Thanks Obama! Never fear though, all our favourite characters are still here. Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl, she has the proportional strength of a squirrel, can speak with squirrels and has a squirrel side-kick called "Tippy Toe". Best friend Nancy is also still around with Mew her beloved cat as well as fellow creature themed heroes, Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk. This collection also includes the awesome letters pages and an issue of Howard The Duck which was a crossover with Squirrel Girl #6. This is a tremendously fun, all-ages comic. Breezily written by Ryan North and characterful artwork by Erica Henderson make it a cut above the usual superhero fare and proves comics can be both mature and fun at the same time. This volume includes a visit from Squirrel Girls mum, time travel back to the 1960's and Howard the Duck's search for a lost cat going somewhat awry. So without further ado, let's tuck in to a slice of fun.
We begin with Squirrel Girl inside a burning building rescuing family from the flames with back up from Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk. The family are very excited to meet her as she picks all three of them up and jumps out to safety. Later they discuss the situation, Squirrel Girl says they "kicked butts and ate nuts". Nancy says she didn't eat nuts she stayed on the ground ensuring they were in the most effective places.
Squirrel Girl says she spoiled her catchphrase moment, while Tippy Toe (who the others have been taught to understand) teases Chipmunk Hunk, calling him "Chipmonk Honk" which Squirrel Girl says that should be his name now. Chipmunk Hunk grumbles it was better when he couldn't understand Tippy Toe.
|Sweet new digs!|
There is a teleporter in the closet which will take Squirrel Girl directly to Avenger's Island as she is now a member of the "New Avengers". She says "we avenge all the new stuff." She moans that it doesn't do anything cool like take her to the moon, but the place has a pretty good food court, so do they want to come and "eat delicious food off some friggin' paper plates?"
Then her phone goes. It's her mother, she wants to meet Nancy who is less than enthralled by the prospect. Squirrel Girl gets on her knees and begs, Nancy looks grumpy then agrees and Squirrel Girl picks her up and rushes off out the door. Squirrel Girl's mum is waiting at an open air cafe. Squirrel Girl has to go to the bathroom so sends Nancy over to her and mum greets her warmly.
She introduces herself as Maureen and tells her she and her husband Dor have heard a lot about her. She loves cats too but they couldn't have them with all the squirrels running about, doesn't Mew mind Tippy Toe? Nancy says no. Maureen says Dor couldn't make it and Nancy says Doreen's parents are called "Dor" and "Maureen". Maureen says they merged their names to make "Doreen". Nancy says, "that's... the most adorable thing I've ever heard."
Maureen says she has tonnes of Doreen stories and Nancy grins saying she is so into hearing the stories she has no idea. Squirrel Girl finally arrives to find her mum showing baby pictures of her to Nancy. She was climbing trees at nine months. Nancy comments it must be one of her mutant powers. Maureen says that Squirrel Girl isn't a mutant. She was tested and found not to be one by the doctor.
Maureen: "I remember now 'Doreen is medically and legally distinct from being a mutant and I can never take it back'"
Squirrel Girl says that's a cool story so what's for lunch? Maureen says she already ate. Squirrel Girl clutches her head saying they are here for nothing. Nancy says she is here for the baby pictures and embarrassing stories and she is happy to be proved wrong about meeting her being potentially boring.
|That's one for the lawyers.|
Nancy tries to find its Deadpool card and discovers its name is "Brain Drain". But the card has no clues on what his weakness is and he's from Hydra. He and Squirrel Girl wrestle some more and she rips his coat off his front exposing a control box with wires. Tippy Toe goes to work on them, nibbling through them and Brain Drain powers down.
They bring him inside their flat and discuss what to do with him. Her mum says he never actually attacked Squirrel Girl first, and how could he eat Mew and Tippy Toe with no mouth? Nancy and Squirrel Girl realise they "absolutely started this fight". Tippy says he came through the teleporter and just stood ther until she came close to him, then he snatched her and Mew and was all "chaos" and "murder".
|Tippy-toe to the rescue!|
Fifteen minutes later he says he had been like in a dream with few lucid moments. He had come to New York to find her, Hippo the Hippo speaks very highly of her. The aliens who rebuilt him had used a Hydra handbook, but while he wanted to change, his actions would not. Repairing him though has removed all the Hydra processors for which he is thankful. She asks what he plans to do now:
Werner: "I have been meaning to make a study of how civilisation's false veneer of decency is spread all to thin across the face on a monstrously indifferent universe."
Squirrel Girl says he should learn how to fix himself now he is part cellphone. So they disguise him and have Maureen pretend he is her son so she can sign him up to the database class Nancy and Squirrel Girl both attend. He says he is looking forward to studying them.
|Werner gets signed up for Awesome Database Action.|
Narration: "One night, Doreen Green and Tippy-Toe were getting ready for bed. They had spent a busy day fighting crime and also studying discrete mathematics so they fell asleep pretty quickly. They were hit by a temporal blast which had the effect of sending them back in time while also erasing them from the timeline. This is the story of what happens next".
Her bed crashes down in a vacant lot, earmarked for forthcoming student housing. She takes stock and realises by the look of things they must have time travelled. Also people are staring at her tail. She yells out that she is an actor playing "Sleepy Squirrel Lady" then jumps away asking Tippy-Toe "what the heck are we doing in the 1960s??"
They duck into a back alley where there is a chairty clothing bank which Squirrel Girl plans to borrow some clothes, including super hero clothes. Tippy-Toe can't believe she plans to fight crime.
Tippy-Toe: "It's the butterfly effect: If someone is supposed to steal a butterfly in the past and we stop them, then the future can get changed in crazy ways!"
Squirrel Girl says she seriously needs to get some clothes because a woman with a squirrel tail in pyjamas running round New York will probably change things more. Tippy-Toe reluctantly agrees and Squirrel Girl gets some nice threads.
|Rockin' the sixties look there.|
In the present Nancy runs up to Tomas and Ken saying she woke up to find Doreen and her bed had gone missing, and her parents say they never heard of her and the school hasn't either. They give her a blank look, she says "we fight crime together". Tomas asks what makes her think they fight crime? Nancy says he's Chipmunk Hunk and Ken is Koi Boi.
Nancy: "I'll tell you one thing: nobody erases my roomate from existence and steals her bed and gets away with it".
And she walks off, leaving the pair saying she just guessed right that they fight crime. Nancy says to herself it must be time travel and looks it up on wikipedia to find it happens quite a lot.
|Nancy is too sensible for this shit.|
We then cut back to Squirrel Girl leaving the message and then wandering away to think about getting and apartment and a job. She says if the worst comes to the worst she can live the slow path, find Nancy as an old lady then come back and rescue herself before that happens. Tippy says that'll result in a paradox. Then Squirrel Girl notices a girl walking along listening to music through ear buds. She stops her and asks if she is from the future? The girl says "oh thank God. I was beginning to think I was crazy".
They go to a cafe and discover they both attend the same class at the same university. Squirrel Girl thinks this can't be a coincidence. The girl, Mary, gives her a phone number to reach her on. She's been here a few weeks and already has a boyfriend and somewhere to live. She says she's ready to go back though, it'll be ten years before the first microwavable pizza is invented and "also it'd be nice not to be called 'cupcake' all the time".
Squirrel Girl has a plan to find out if more people have been sent back here. She takes out a large advert in one of the newspapers saying to contact her if you recognise what the words "Hashtag", "Cerebro", "Selfie", Wikipedia" and "TL:DR" mean.
Meanwhile Nancy is going through Doreen's Deadpool cards looking for an enemy that uses time travel who might have done this. They are no help. so she checks wikipedia for a list of confirmed time travellers. She sees Iron Man has done it and as Squirrel Girl is internet friends with him she tries to go to him for help, but gets ejected from Stark Tower.
In the past, Squirrel Girl sees an advert for the "Individual Portable sOng Device" or "I.P.O.D" and obviously this is too soon for it, Tippy thinks it's her fault and time is ruined forever. Squirrel Girl says it was obviously in the works before she showed up, someone is using a time machine to rewrite history. In the present Doctor Doom suddenly appears in front of Nancy saying "Fool! The mightiest heroes of any era cannot help but fall... before Doctor Doom!!"
He says he has let her go because he doesn't want to tip his hand to the heroes of this era he is here. Nancy asks when he has come from, he says he is from the present everyone else here is from the future. Nancy asks him what he wants, he says he wants to be directed to a warehouse of future armaments so "both Stark and his tailed compatriot will realise the folly of standing in Doom's way."
Nancy realise he's the Doom from just after his battle with Squirrel Girl which Doom fibs saying he totally won and had the magnaminity to allow her to live as well. Nancy tells him Squirrel Girl is trapped in the past and as he turned up with a time machine maybe he could help get her back? He refuses, but Nancy says she is trapped in both their pasts and manages to convince him via extreme flattery that she's gone back to a time when he was weaker and undefended. Need she spell it out?
So Doom agrees and will take her back to where Squirrel Girl is now, Nancy says she'll make sure Squirrel Girl never attacks him and he'll be free of her "meddling ways for years. Years". Only she can talk Squirrel Girl down from messing with a baby Doom. He tells her to get on his time platform and they decide to give her a week in the past and off they go with Nancy commenting "Do you ever get the feeling your making a huge mistake?"
Squirrel Girl is chairing the first meeting of the "Future Pals." They are all in the same computer science class but none of them recognise each other, so the first mystery is who is doing this to them. Squirrel Girl says the second mystery is who took out the iPod advert. Mary 'fesses up to that one.
She says that after her talk with Squirrel Girl she thought one way to get home was try and accelerate the technichal development of mankind so time machines get invented ahead of schedule. She placed the ad to recruit other time travellers so they could get to work on the plan. Squirrel Girl says crossly that they can't contaminate the timeline like that. Then Doom and Nancy arrive, right in the middle of the room.
|Quite an entrance.|
Nancy tells her that after she disappeared no one remembered her but herself and Doctor Doom. He explains that time machines have "chronoton protection" fields which allow the traveller to not be affected if history changes around them. Nancy asks how she remembers? "Oooh! Power of Friendship?" suggests Squirrel Girl. Doom then demonstrates what happens if you remove the field by doing it to Nancy's phone. Which changes to "Doomphone 5000".
Nancy looks up the offline version of wikipedia she keeps on it and finds history has changed, before July 28th 1962 things were "boring and awful". Afterwards when Doctor Doom arrived "things were wonderful forever".
Doctor Doom: "I won. I've already won. No matter what the era, Doom always wins. And this world... shall be owned by Doom!!"
He starts firing energy blasts at Squirrel Girl and Nancy says she thought they had a deal, but he says he never said he wouldn't attack her and he will bring them back to their own time, "in a coffin! And you shall join her!"
Nancy ducks and is annoyed he got out of his promise with "stupid baby word games". Doom carries on ranting and tosses Squirrel Girl out of the building through an advertising hoarding, "Oh. It's so on now" she says. First of all she needs to get the Future Pals out of there, so she scoops them all up and they all jump out of the window into a nearby rooftop pool.
Doom isn't following them, Nancy thinks he'll lay low to prepare to take over the world. And because he has her phone and article telling how to do it, he's convinced it shows him a future victory he can't lose. One of the Future Pals says he's wrong, right? But Squirrel Girl and Nancy look pensive. Meanwhile in the new present a man wakes up and realises something is wrong across a New York ruled by Doom.
|Cody wakes up to DoomWorld.|
Squirrel Girl: "Besides, I can't call myself the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl if I let a teeny thing like a crazy unstoppable genius science wizard with his own time machine and robot suit foil me, right?"
Nancy has an idea, they need to steal his time machine, Squirrel Girl realises that means they could have dinosaurs on their team in that case! Mary says a better idea would be going to the future and bringing the cool tech back to use. Nancy says they could go back and find baby Doom and give him a better childhood.
Squirrel Girl will go steal the machine while Mary works on making an EMP. Squirrel Girl frowns at her and asks if she's been making nukes? Mary says no... the parts are too expensive. The EMP will be able to shut down Doom's armour, she learned to make one in Computer Hardware. Nancy says she took that course and didn't think she'd need to use it for making doomsday devices, "Well, that's where we're different" says Mary. I like Mary.
The plan is made, Mary and Nancy will work on the EMP device, while Squirrel Girl steals the time machine. The other Future Pals will help Mary and Nancy. So Squirrel Girl tracks Doom down to an abandoned castle in the middle of Central Park. They sneak inside and see Doom busy building something.
|Let words be our battle!|
She says she doesn't want to fight him, "there must be some way we can both get what we want". He says he desires world domination. She says she found common ground with Galactus so there must be something they can agree on. Doom keeps punching and she keeps dodging, he says "compromise is for the weak" and hits her with an energy blast.
Doom: "Woman, do you even realise what you can achieve when you refuse to compromise? Can you fathom what heights await you when you refuse to accept anyone's 'no'. When you deny failure even a passing consideration?"
He stops attacking her and decides to show her. He has built a Doombot already, in just a matter of hours using his own programming language. And now he has shown her, he unleashes the Doombots on her.
Then coming to her rescue come the Future Pals armed with EMP devices. But they are ineffective, Doom protected himself and his Doombots from them. Then suddenly before things can get really bad, the time machine lights up and it's the guy who was shown walking round Doom World with someone in Doom's armour. And that person turns out to be... an elderly Squirrel Girl.
|Squirrel Girl young and old.|
He's telling them this in the middle of the two Squirrel Girls fighting Doom and the Doombots. Old Squirrel Girl says she is from a sucky future where she lost this fight first time and Doom took over the world.
Because there was no Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic, only Doom had a time machine. Cody was protected from the timeline changes and came back on his own originally to try and fix things, so she tracked him down in the future inside a hollowed out Doombot and tweaked his machine so it wouldn't erase themselves from history and now she's back and she is "more than a little unbeatable!!"
The Squirrel Girls lure him outside so they have more tactical advantages against him but he runs into the Museum of Natural History. Old Squirrel Girl is exhausted and they decide young Squirrel Girl will fight Doom and Old Squirrel Girl will fight the Doombots. They hug and part.
Inside Doom swings some fake dinosaur bones at her. Nancy had the Future Pals come in and Squirrel Girl stops Doom hurting them with an energy blast. Squirrel Girl speaks some C++ to Nancy and Doom's confusion gives Nancy time to program Cody's time machine gun. Nancy blasts it at her and sends her back the day before. She keeps doing this creating more and more Squirrel Girls at different points on the timeline. Finally a big crowd of them converge on the Doom battle and swarm over him as he flails about.
|A dray of Squirrel Girls attack.|
The multiple Squirrel Girls are sent back in time so no paradox happens then all the Future Pals gather on Doom's time machine. Old Squirrel Girl decides to stay, it's a nice time to retire to. She also confiscates Cody's time machine gun. Doom gets impatient with their lengthy goodbye and they return to the present.
Doom: "I have undone the alterations from the other time device and your 'friends' are no longer erased from the timeline."
Squirrel Girl: "What? Don't put 'friends' in quotes! Friendship is real yo, and it kicked your butt!"
Doom mutters that he'll put quotes round whatever he pleases. They shake on Doom's promise not to disrupt the timeline, he says she has earned his respect, "pray that you don't lose it".
We finish this story with Squirrel Girl wondering still how Nancy remembered her. Was it the Power of Friendship? Or was it that when Cody tagged her in bed, Nancy got hit by the "protect from timeline changes" field instead. They decide it was the power of friendship and what other students can say they "piled up on a Latverian dictator?" Nancy says quite afew now. Squirrel Girl says "the English Lit majors are gonna be mad jealous".
Meanwhile in the past Doom decides he made no promise that his Doombots wouldn't go back in time and starts ordering them to defeat her or be reduced to scrap. But Old Squirrel Girl has got to them before him and all he can do is rage, "Blaaaast youuu Squiiiirrel Giiiirl!" And that brings this arc to an end.
The next story is a two-part crossover with Howard The Duck, a 70's creation by the legendary grumpy-pants Steve Gerber, who functioned as a somewhat satirical commentator on the absurdities of life in general. Squirrel Girl requests Nancy sew her a new hero costume which Nancy agrees to Squirrel Girl saying it'll be awesome to fight crime in a costume she made. They have a discussion about heroes with multiple costumes then Squirrel Girl drifts off to sleep.
Then she wakes up to find Howard making a getaway with Nancy's cat Mew. When challenged he accuses them of stealing the cat, Squirrel Girl then asks to see his powers. Nancy tosses him a Deadpool card on him and finds he can team up with one hundred normal ducks to make one big duck. This surprises Howard who snatches the card off her, "I'm not a villain. I'm a private detective." He crosses out the word "supervillain" on the card. Nancy takes Mew back.
He say he's been hired to find a cat called "Biggs", which is turning into a pain because all cats look the same. He calls them "hairy proto-apes" and Squirrel Girls starts a long explanation of the genomes of animals and humans, which gets her a long silent stare from Howard.
|I have seen that stare so many times in my life.|
They walk out of the alley and a van pulls up and Kraven the Hunter climbs out. He greets Squirrel Girl and says he is pleased to see her, she asks if he wants to help find a cat. But he says he is after different game tonight and scoops Howard into a sack. He says he needs the money and his client will pay handsomely for him. Squirrel Girl says she can't let him take Howard. But before she can summon her squirrel army he tosses far away and drives off.
She follows the van to a "weird creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere with insanely high security". She leaps over the wall and heads towards the house. Inside Howard is dumped out of the sack onto the floor. The client turns out to be a woman called Shannon Sugarbaker who is a cosplay fanatic. She has costumes and weapons of all the heroes, and the weapons work.
Squirrel Girl is fighting the Doombots and Shannon hears thumping noises from them. Squirrel Girl smashes through the ceiling and jumps down to where Howard and Shannon are. Shannon orders Kraven to hunt her, but he says no, "She has my respect". He apologises for tossing her in the air, an "unfortunate combination of habit, muscle memory and necessity" They shake hands and say no hard feelings.
Shannon gets her Mjolnir and fires it as Squirrel Girl then uses web shooters on her and covers her mouth before whacking her over the head with the hammer and knocking her out. She wakes up in a cell with Howard, Biggs, Beast, Rocket Raccoon, Weapon II and Kraven. Kraven admits he has now become the hunted as Howard bewails the fact he's in this mess because he was just looking for a cat, "I can't take it. I can't take this entire planet."
|Cosplay Billionaire's prey.|
Beast doesn't want to trust a villain, he says he is the best choice for a leader. He says hunting him would result in the full wrath of the mutant population. He is going back to the mansion to tell her this. Howard says he's crazy, they should be running and they are out of time. Shannon appears sporting a pair of wings and firing a laser at them.
|The hunt begins.|
Kraven then comforts Biggs, "you are a fine specimen and deserve better than this." Meanwhile Weapon II is battling Shannon and also gets knocked out and sucked underground. This gives Howard and idea, he tells Biggs to dig a hole. Raccoon and Kraven go to fight her to buy time for the hole to be dug.
He digs down until he hits some metal, and Howard tells Squirrel Girl to pry the hatch open with her super strength. The hole is too small for Biggs so he stands guard while Squirrel Girl and Howard descend inside. They are unsure where to go, so Howard gets out his phone. Squirrel Girl says he had it all the time and didn't call for help? He didn't think of it and he is getting no signal as well.
They spot a Doombot carrying an unconcious Kraven and sneakily following them. They arrive back in the mansion but Howard's phone is dead. They are in a library and they search for something, anything they can use against her. Howard pulls out a book on cosplaying.
We then see Shannon standing with Beast, Rocket Raccoon, Kraven, Weapon II and Beast firmly tied up. She is pointing a hand blaster at Kraven and orders Squirrel Girl and Howard to come out or she'll blast him. As she counts down we hear Squirrel Girl and Howard arguing then he comes out in cosplay himself swinging a mace and in a suit of electronic armour.
|Howard goes into battle.|
Three weeks later Squirrel Girl and Nancy are walking in the park with Mew on a leash and bump into Howard. He has taken ownership of Biggs now who is in a smaller robotsuit after his owner freaked out at the sight of him, "so I guess I own a weird cat now". Squirrel Girl makes a fuss of him and says cats are her second favourite animal, Howard asks if her favourite is ducks? "Sure Howard. Sure" comes the response and that brings this story to an end.
|Yay, happy endings all round!|