Eats Nuts, Kicks Butts!
What Came Before
Squirrel girl, a.k.a. Doreen Green, was imagined as a lighthearted joke to counter-balance the deeply earnest tone of superhero comics. Her team-up with Iron Man and their battle with Doctor Doom struck just the right preposterous note to create a love of the character among comic fans and Marvel writers alike. The backing story in tuSG, dated as it may be, serves to set the stage for her modern incarnation.
Squirrel Girl popped up in various later contexts, notably as a member of the D-list superhero team the Great Lakes Avengers / X-Men / Champions / Initiative (it's complicated). During this time she interacts with Deadpool, another unlikely hero who is tonally different than mainstream Marvel. This leads to Squirrel Girls' acquisition of a key item, Deadpool's Guide to Super Villains, about which more anon.
Discounting minor appearance and one-shots, Doreen next appeared alongside the Avengers as nanny to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' daughter Danielle Cage (who will later become Captain America, and subsequently return to the current time to join the U.S.Avengers. (it's complicated)). She then leaves the Avengers to go to college, which is where tuSG picks up.
The Now That Was
I tell you all that so that I may tell you this :
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl launched in 2015 with Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) as writer and Erica Henderson as artist. A book that could have foundered on a one-note gimmick (Girl talks to squirrels, defeats Marvel's most powerful supervillains monthly) instead was fresh and amusing. Fans and reviewers alike were drawn to the series' fresh look, smart writing, and honestly empowered female lead.
Despite the preposterous elements (talking squirrel, "proportionate strength and speed of a squirrel," the aforementioned A-list villain beating) the series feels grounded. Doreen has the real concerns of a college student, they're just interrupted by inconvenient super-conflicts.
This is where Deadpool's 4,522 element trading-card set comes in handy, giving Squirrel Girl the pocket reference she needs when the more obscure characters come to call. Well, not always :
His card is just pointless backstory!
-Squirrel Girl re: Brain Drain (card 1011 of 4522)
so, I'm borrowing from the future. It's not like Marvel doesn't do it all day and twice on Sundays.
There's also the 1,622 card companion guide to super villain accessories, both tucked into Squirrel Girl's Batmanesque utility belt. The trading cards give various Marvel artists a way to cameo in the pages of tuSG for fun and profit. END TANGENT
Anyway...unlike Marvel's mainstream comics, Doreen isn't drawn by starting out with a pair of spheres. She has a realistic figure, and the body confidence to be proud of it (even when her concealed squirrel tail gives her the appearance of a "conspicuously large and conspicuously awesome butt"). Erica Henderson gives her characters a cartoonish edge (such as the facial expressions and Doreen's squirrely buck teeth) but realistic proportions and poses that never make you wonder when Doreen will be off to the chiropractor. Ryan's dialog (both internal and spoken) consistently portray her as optimistic and self-confident. And that attitude and positive approach help her to defeat, deflect, deter, and de-otherstuff the worst of Marvel's rogue's gallery.
Also, there is Galactus. Normally I despise Galactus. I love his look but you just know he'll get nerfed and your suspension of disbelief will sag like a 1976 Dodge Dart. But here it's all good.
If you like great dialog, fast-moving stories, and a light but loving take on the Marvel universe, this book's for you. As a not-totally-reformed Marvel fanboy, I recommend it unstintingly.
Squirrel Girl will return in The unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Vol. 2, Squirrel you know it's true, duh!
I'm holding it.
See also: the unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe
IN9, because I can't node only chart types, and Tem42 said it was OK.