Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1 by Ryan North et al. and the Graphic Novels Challenge

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1: Squirrel Power written by Ryan North and art by Erica Henderson

There is no doubt that some Marvel Comics heroes have ridiculous superpowers. Mr. Fantastic can stretch into any shape. Ant-Man can shrink to microscopic sizes and can control ants. So a teenager with squirrel powers isn't so surprising. Squirrel Girl originally appeared in 1990 when she and her cohort of squirrels defeated Doctor Doom. Ironman was there but he didn't do much helping (to be honest, Tony Stark was more damsel-in-distress than knight-in-shining-armor). Marvel has reintroduced the character in 2015 and this trade paperback includes the first four issues along with that original adventure with Ironman and Doctor Doom.

Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl and she's been living in the Avengers Mansion attic for a while. She decides to go to college and have a bit of a regular life. She keeps running into trouble. Her roommate has a cat (which is against college rules but the roommate doesn't care). The cat does get along with Tippy-Toe, Doreen's pet squirrel (who is also her sidekick when fighting villains). So things work out. On campus, Kraven the Hunter shows up. Doreen suits up and heads out for a big fight in the campus woods. She does as much talking as using her powers to send Kraven packing. Will she be great enough to defeat Galactus, whose approach to the planet Earth has only been detected by the squirrels?

The stories are silly but fun. I laughed often while reading and found her naive optimism charming (a refreshing change from the dark, brooding comics that seem to dominate the current market). The art is bright and cartoony, also a refreshing change from the overly violent and sexualized content in other comics. If you want lots of light-hearted chuckles, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is right up your alley.

This is the last graphic novel of 2015, concluding my participation in the 8th annual Graphic Novels and Manga Challenge. I hit 55 of 52, so I exceeded the goal! Here's the other 54:
  1. Wolverine: Old Man Logan--reviewed here.
  2. Saga Volume 2--reviewed here.
  3. Saga Volume 3--reviewed here.
  4. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise - Part One--reviewed here.
  5. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise - Part Two--reviewed here.
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise - Part Three--reviewed here
  7. Serenity Volume 4: Leaves on the Wind--reviewed here
  8. The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko's Story--reviewed here.
  9. Messiah: Origin--reviewed here
  10. Cartoon Guide to Economics: Vol. 1--reviewed here
  11. The Book of Genesis Illustrated--reviewed here.
  12. Anne Frank--reviewed here
  13. Megillat Esther--reviewed here
  14. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search - Part One--reviewed here.
  15. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search - Part Two--reviewed here.  
  16. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search - Part Three--reviewed here
  17. Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories--reviewed here
  18. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy--reviewed here
  19. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift - Part One--reviewed here.
  20. Free Comic Book Day issues--reviewed here!
  21. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift - Part Two--reviewed here.
  22. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift - Part Three--reviewed here.
  23. The Walking Dead TP 22--reviewed here.
  24. Green Lantern New 52 Volume 4--reviewed here.
  25. Itty Bitty Hellboy--reviewed here.
  26. Saga Volume 4--reviewed here.
  27. Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai--reviewed here.
  28. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952--reviewed here.
  29. Contract with God Trilogy--reviewed here.
  30. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party--reviewed here.
  31. Baltimore: Passing Stranger and Other Stories--reviewed here.
  32. Avengers: Rage of Ultron--reviewed here.
  33. The Walking Dead TP 23--reviewed here.
  34. The Best of The Spirit--reviewed here.
  35. Twilight Zone: Deaths-Head Revisited--reviewed here.
  36. Justice League: Trinity War--reviewed here
  37. Fray--reviewed here.
  38. Batman '66 Vol. 1--reviewed here.
  39. Pride of Baghdad--reviewed here.
  40. Animal Crackers--reviewed here
  41. The Black Island--reviewed here.
  42. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!--reviewed here.
  43. The Sword Vol. 1--reviewed here.
  44. The Sword Vol. 2--reviewed here.
  45. The Sword Vol. 3--reviewed here.
  46. The Sword Vol. 4--reviewed here.
  47. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood--reviewed here.
  48. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor--reviewed here.
  49. Batman: The Long Halloween--reviewed here.
  50. Avatar: Smoke and Shadow Part One--reviewed here.
  51. The Walking Dead TP 24--reviewed here.
  52. Secret Coders Vol. 1--reviewed here.
  53. Batman: Hush--reviewed here.
  54. Frankenstein Underground--reviewed here.

I am going to go for another 52 in 2016 for the next challenge. I'll probably start the Fables series or Morning Glories. Click on the picture below to find out more about the challenge!



  1. Congratulation for finishing with bonus points!!!! Glad you'll still be with us next year! Wouldn't be the same without you Joseph.

  2. Congrats! I'm also participating in this challenge and I hope to reach 52 books soon! I'm also participating in the Comic Book Bingo Challenge!