The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-4

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-4 Book Poster Image
Quirky supergirl brings fun back to comic books.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Superhero fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

You can help effect positive change by being careful about the words you use. Muggers learn the error of their ways "via punches" received from Squirrel Girl. A tiny line at the bottom of a page says you can give yourself tattoos at home, but don't tell any authority figures.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although she deals with smaller evils like muggings or robberies "via punches," Squirrel Girl handles larger problems like Galactus by pausing, thinking through the problem, and finding creative, nonviolent solutions. She uses her wits and connects personally with supervillains to find ways to redirect their destructive or evil intentions. She values education as an important way she can achieve her goal of helping people. Squirrel Girl models positive attitudes about her body and is very confident in herself. 

Violence

A few punches and kicks shown without blood or gore, but one tooth knocked out has a stylized red root. Bad guys and villains brandish guns and threaten with them. A slam to the face is obscured by a block of color. Pain is shown as stars radiating out from injuries.

Sex

Having a crush on someone or finding them attractive mentioned a few times.

Language

"Butt," "jerk," "sucky," "friggin," and "tool."

Consumerism

Part of the vast Marvel Avenger superhero franchise. Frequent mention of other Marvel characters like Spider Man, Iron Man, etc. Printed link to a Tumblr page with additional art, both official and by fans. A page formatted like Twitter exchanges includes searchable hashtags that could lead away from official Squirrel Girl or Marvel content. Fan mail frequently mentions other Marvel characters and past projects by the author and art team. Squirrel Girl collects fictional supervillain trading cards which could generate reader interest in real Marvel trading cards. References to an app that's no longer supported, but encourages readers to search for bonus Marvel content online.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mention of using horse tranquilizer as a weapon against Hulk, Wolverine, and Captain America.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1, is a collection of the first four issues featuring an ongoing Marvel superhero. Originally created in the '90s, Squirrel Girl received a reboot in 2015. She's a great role model for girls, brimming with self confidence, unafraid of physical confrontation but proving most effective when she makes personal connections and thinks creatively. Occasional cartoonish violence shows one tooth knocked out with red at the root. Lots of references to Marvel's vast superhero franchises including trading cards, a Tumblr page, Twitter hashtags, and other opportunities to find bonus content online.

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What's the story?

It's time for THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL to come out of hiding in the Avenger's attic so she can make her way in the outside world, and going off to college is as good a place to start as any. Moving into the dorms, finding your way to class on time, and learning how to get along with a roommate are more than enough for anyone's plate. But add a dash of Iron Man, a heaping helping of Whiplash, and a planet-sized Galactus to Doreen Green's helping. As Squirrel Girl, she'll need the help of friends, furry and otherwise, and all the courage and smarts she can muster to save the world this time.

Is it any good?

After a long period of doom and darkness in the comic-book world, Marvel's new supergirl bursts on the scene and knocks the hinges off the door by bringing the fun (and funny) back. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a breath of fresh air in superhero-dom, not only because she's loaded with girl-powered positivity but because she fully embraces the silliness of all things squirrel.

Tweens and up will enjoy the corny yet witty jokes as North's writing easily balances them with exciting action and a suspenseful story arch. Henderson's vivid, dynamic illustrations ably enhance the flow, keeping eyes moving and pages turning. A bonus at the very end reprints the very first appearance of Squirrel Girl as she tries to impress Iron Man and join the Avengers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl a good role model. What do you like about her? What makes her a superhero?

  • Why do you think the character of Squirrel Girl was given her own comic series?

  • If you could have any superpower, what would you want it to be? Why?

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