The collaboration between writer, Ryan North, and artist, Erica Henderson, has created the current incarnation of Squirrel Girl, a favorite superhero in our household. Doreen Green, a.k.a. Squirrel Girl, is a second year computer science student and a superhero (with powers of a Girl and the powers of a Squirrel) who has teamed with the Avengers. With her cheerful demeanor, boundless optimism, and determination to talk things out with villains, she also is the perfect antidote to grim dark superheros. In the third volume of collected comics, Squirrel Girl continues to be just as fun and entertaining as ever. She, and other characters, continue to break the third wall in the margins of pages. When needing information about villains, Doreen again consults Deadpool’s Guide to Supervillain Cards, which are hilarious in how Deadpool views each of these bad guys. Each issue ends with letters to Ryan and Erica. Normally I don’t read these sorts of things but the letters and responses are so delightful. Perhaps most importantly, the humor continues to be laugh out loud enjoyable.
This collection begins with Doreen and her roommate/best friend Nancy being attacked by Brain Drain, a brain and eye balls in a jar attached to a robot body who is a member of Hydra. Created by aliens in the 1940s his technology is old and failing. Brain Drain is easily dispatched by Tippy Toe (Doreen’s best squirrel friend and side kick) taking a chomp to his wiring. Upon seeing his sorry state of affairs the two computer science majors decide to give him a much needed upgrade and a robot repair montage scene occurs.
Next, is a story of friendship and time travel as Doreen and Nancy are separated through time, finding themselves trying to change a future where Doctor Doom is ruler of the World. This is the second time Squirrel Girl has faced off with Doctor Doom. The first time she thwarted him by summoning an army of squirrels to physically over power Doom and force him to concede, provided she never tell anyone about his humiliating defeat. This time all of Doreen’s entreaties to find compromise with Doctor Doom about ruling the world come to naught. During the continuous fighting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, C++ programming, and Science Vision (“Science vision isn’t a squirrel-based super power but it IS a STEM student-based super power!”) are all part of the action.
The last two issues are a partnership with Chip Zdarsky in a Howard the Duck cross over, with special appearances by Rocket Raccoon and Kraven the Hunter. Hunters become hunted as Shannon Sugarbaker, who has spent a fortune recreating the weapons of famous superheroes, decides to hunt the ultimate prey by going after anthropomorphic animals.
In every challenge Squirrel Girl faces, she meets it with heart and smarts, always looking to rehabilitate the villains she is in opposition with. As it was on NPR’s Best Books of 2015 this counts for the “Listicles” square on cbr10bingo!