Comic reviews

Squrriel Girl Vol. 1 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

Format: Paperback

Buy From:  Amazon

Borrow: UK Libraries

Summary: That’s right, it’s Squirrel Girl! The nuttiest and most upbeat super hero in the world is starting college! And as if meeting her new roommate and getting to class on time isn’t hard enough, now she has to deal with Kraven the Hunter, too? At least her squirrel friend Tippy-Toe is on hand to help out. But what can one girl – and one squirrel – do when a hungry Galactus heads toward Earth? You’d be surprised!

Review: Squirrel Girl is one of my favourite superheroes. In a world full of macho-macho super serious characters and convoluted storylines she is a breath of fresh air. However, I’ve never fully read a Squirrel Girl comic series. So what better series to start with then the one penned by North and Henderson.

The first thing I loved about Squirrel Girl was the humour. North is on point with some of his one-liners and perfectly encapsulates her care-free, tongue-in-cheek attitude. The humour was also helped by the side characters especially Squirrel Girl’s side-kick, Tippy Toes, whose dialogue bounced off Squirrel Girl’s perfectly.

Although this comic doesn’t take itself too seriously, this doesn’t mean it neglects good character development. Starting at college, her real –life persona, Doreen Green, is intent on keeping her superhero identity a secret. However, with villains surrounding her at every corner, this is harder than first expected. Seeing Squirrel Girl as Doreen really helped the reader relate to her, as you see her struggle through real-life experiences. It grounded the character, and made her infinitely more likeable.

Although I loved the characters, I must admit that I didn’t enjoy the artwork as much as I wanted to. I think the art style suits Squirrel Girl to a tee, the bright colours and whimsical style suit the comic’s cheery tone.  However, there were some proportion issues and odd caricature facial expressions. When it comes to comics, I don’t usually mind a bit of artistic creativity (unless it’s Escher Girls style). However, in this instance, I found it too over-the-top and it took me out of the story.

One issue I had was the chaotic plot. To be honest, I think this plagues a lot of comics in their early stages, probably due to cancellation worries. So much was crammed into the first few issues to try and keep readers hooked. It would have been good to slow down for more character development. I loved Nancy, Doreen’s new roommate, and wanted to see more of them interact together. Plus, we met Doreen’s crush, but nothing really developed there and it was dropped really fast. Some of these less action-y sections could have been developed to enrich Squirrel Girl’s campus life, and give the story more depth and better pacing.

TLDR: Squirrel Girl was a delight. Sure, I would have liked the art to be a bit more polished and the story could have had better pacing, but it was great. Highlights were the characterisation and the humour, and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next volume.

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