Squirrel Girl a.k.a. Doreen Green is at the top of my favorite superhero list and I love sharing her with people unfamiliar with this awesome heroine. My daughters look up to her and you couldn’t ask for a better role model. In this fourth graphic novel collection there are two particular issues that stand out for their uniqueness in my (albeit limited) comic reading. The book starts with a choose your own adventure and ends with an issue devoted entirely to using computer science. In the middle are two comics about Doreen attempting online dating which are hilarious and end with a great message.
Each issue of Squirrel Girl opens with a page of tweets between her, other superheroes (frequently Tony Stark/Iron Man), and her friends as a way to catch up on what happened in the previous comic. These segments are called “Squirrel Girl in a nutshell” and are a fun way to recap. Throughout the comics Doreen breaks the fourth wall talking to the reader in the footnotes space. While not necessary to read, and are sometimes challenging due to the tiny font, they add another layer of entertainment.
I discovered in Cannonball 10 that I do not like choose your own adventure books. However, this choose your own adventure is a bit different. As the issue is only nineteen pages long, there isn’t much branching and it’s super simple to follow all the alternate paths. Each option is comical so there is really no downside. Doreen’s friend and fellow super, Ken Shiga a.k.a. Koi Boi, is featured, so you get fish related puns along with the standard nut puns. Frequent use of puns are another reason I love Squirrel Girl comics.
When Doreen discovers that her friend, and secret crush, Tomas Lara-Perez, another super known as Chipmunk Hunk, is going on a date she gets depressed. Her friend and roommate, Nancy Whitehead (non-super but very intelligent computer science major) points out Doreen wouldn’t necessarily be in this situation had she asked Tomas out herself. Nancy’s solution is for her to give online dating a try. Doreen quickly gets frustrated trying to write a profile so Nancy, Ken, and squirrel sidekick/friend Tippy Toe take turns writing one for her to comedic results. A series of dates follow, including an amusing one where she goes out each with a Sentinel robot from the X-Men franchise, all have negative outcomes. Villainous Mole Man interrupts yet another doomed date with superhero denier Brad (he insists supers are all a conspiracy), only to fall in love with Squirrel Girl himself. At the end of all the hijinks, Doreen has an important self realization.
I tell you, though, this Mole Man thing kinda made me realize…maybe I’m also dating people for the wrong reasons? … I was lining up all those internet dates because – I don’t know, because I felt I was falling behind. Like everyone was dating except me, you know? But I got nothing to prove! I’m a rad lady, and everyone else just has to deal. And the next time I like someone, maybe I’ll just tell ’em!
The last comic in this graphic novel collection is all about Squirrel Girl dealing with villains through computer science. When not busy being a superhero, Doreen is also a computer science major in college. She explains and uses basic programming while fighting Doc Ock and Venom. Squirrel Girl also teaches Count Nefaria how to count in binary thus diffusing the entire situation.
One aspect that I adore in Squirrel Girl is that she seldom muscles her way through problems. Doreen usually finds ways to think her way out, being smarter as opposed to just hitting harder. Another is that Doreen’s close friend group (many of whom are also supers) are all people of color. If you are only familiar with the Marvel movies, this is a refreshing dose of melanin among all the white characters portrayed in the movies. Also, Squirrel Girl comics are all ages friendly. Everyone in our house from the seven year old to the forty-three year old loves them and I hope that you give these comics a chance.
From Ysakitty: I second everything my Mom says. It’s great, it’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and I absolutely love Squirrel Girl. She’s fantastic and so much fun to read about. I idolize her and wish I could grow up to be like her. Except for the dating drama…. But hey, that was a good lesson too. I highly recommend that everyone should read Squirrel Girl. Solid 5 stars!