The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe! Graphic Novel Review

Erica gives this comic five starsThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe! by Ryan North
Art: Erica Henderson

In true Squirrel Girl form, this graphic novel kept me laughing and surprised at every turn. Even when you think Doreen is finally going to turn toward violence — because she can indeed beat up everyone in the Marvel universe — she doesn’t. It’s Doreen!

The basic premise of the book is that Tony Stark summons Squirrel Girl and crew to see if he can get the squirrels to live test a machine he stole from Higher Evolutionary. He’s not sure what the machine does or if he put it together correctly. Of course, Doreen doesn’t let her squirrel friends become Stark’s animal testers.

As previously established, squirrels are Doreen’s friends. She asks them for favors instead of mind controlling them like Ant-Man does to ants.

When bad guys come to steal the machine, Henderson shows off her artistry with anthropomorphic baddies. There’s a killer whale one! So cute! Every animal is thought through about how it’s body would function if it were anthropomorphic and on a heist.

Squirrel Girl ends up being tossed into the machine. Nancy, of course, tries to save her. But out comes two Squirrel Girls.

In true Marvel fashion, everyone warns Doreen that Allene her clone is probably evil. Spider-Man shares his own story. There’s also a hilarious exchange about how Spider-Man wasn’t sure for a while who was the original and who was the clone. Doreen provides a simple solution.

At first, Allene is great. Two Squirrel Girls catching all the villains. Two Squirrel Girls being second year computer science students. Two Squirrel Girls driving their friends a little insane. (I actually would’ve loved to see more of Tomas, Nancy, and Ken being over the two.) They come up with a plan about how to use squirrels in order to save humanity. It’s pretty great. Squirrel aid society with little adorable hats.

Then the gang comes across a dead squirrel.

Allene then disappears and steals the cloning machine to clone squirrels who love her more than Doreen. (Tippy-Toe is clearly on Team Doreen.) Allene turns their initial save humanity plans into destroying all humans to set up a squirrel utopia. She starts by taking out the Avengers to steal their weapons to take on other super-powered people. Then all the super-powered people she banishes to the Negative Zone.

Though my very favorite was Allene making the Hulk calm down by introducing him to Li’l Miss Cuppycakes, the cutest squirrel around. Who wouldn’t just be completely calm for her?

I also rather enjoyed how Iron Man made a special squirrel suit just to take on Allene. And he started making all these nut puns.

The book does take a more serious turn toward the end. We see Doreen betting on Allene not wanting to really hurt her or Tippy-Toe. But Doreen almost dies when accidentally transported to the moon during their battles. (Dies for those normal reasons humans might die if transported to the moon, aka oxygen and atmosphere.) Tippy-Toe saves her by bringing her Thor’s hammer. Because yeah, Squirrel Girl is worthy of Mjölnir. (I was just glad she didn’t talk with that Asgardian accent.)

By the end of the battle, Doreen realizes Tippy-Toe never came back with her from the moon. Even though Doreen had time to rescue all the superheroes and villains from the Negative Zone. That’s right, it looks like Tippy-Toe made the ultimate sacrifice.

Until Doreen forces all the Avengers to heal Tippy-Toe. With all their powers and their doctoring. Someone needed to yell at Doctor Strange. Crisis averted, even if Tippy-Toe still needs to heal.

Allene ends up taking her cloned squirrels to the Negative Zone to form a squirrel utopia and prevent would-be invaders there. She did after all beat up the Marvel universe.

While I obviously enjoyed this graphic novel very much, I’m not sure why this story was collected in a graphic novel format instead of just running it as a arc in the book. There wasn’t anything about it that particularly made sense as one giant story instead of being broken up into issues. I did read it over several days. However, I suppose if Marvel did this as a marketing initiative, as I’m sure Squirrel Girl’s audience reads more graphic novels than single issues, then it was an actual smart move on their part.

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