Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show! (Season 1)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has been my favorite superhero, ever since I was introduced to her comics through Michael’s blog My Comic Relief. She is a true superhero for our times with her dedication not just to “eating nuts and kicking butts,” but also to listening to villains and trying to rehabilitate them. Doreen Green only resorts to fighting when other ways of changing villainous behavior do not stop. Because I love Squirrel Girl’s comics so much, I was sad to see Ryan North’s run end. But then…Michael introduced me to Squirrel Girl’s new podcast!

Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show! begins right after the comics. As Doreen tries to navigate some big changes in her superhero life, she starts a radio show at her university, dedicated to giving advice to callers and enacting positive change. Here are my thoughts on season one’s six episodes.

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Episode 1: “The Fate of My Universe”

The first episode starts off strong with Ryan North’s trademark humor! Set after the events of Squirrel Girl’s final comic, the podcast is still accessible even to casual Marvel fans, requiring no background knowledge, but providing any information necessary. The actors for each character are absolutely perfect, embodying the personalities just as I imagined them on the page. While this episode is largely set-up, its comedic aspects make it highly entertaining. And, it finally answers one of my most pressing questions–why did Chipmunk Hunk name himself that?!

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Episode 2: “Spider-Sense Didn’t Even Tingle”

Episode 2 continues to give Squirrel Girl fans all the best parts of Squirrel Girl. Iron Man and Spider-Man both make guest appearances to support Doreen in her new venture, while Squirrel Girl’s friends Koi Boi, Chipmunk Hunk, Nancy Whitehead, and Brain Drain all appear to support her. Brain Drain’s nihilistic haiku might just become one of my favorite parts of the show.

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Episode 3: “The Sinister Six Are No More”

The podcast continues strong! Squirrel Girl is so fun in part because it meshes a lot of things that people might not think would work. Science, math, and art fun facts all appear, as does Nancy’s feminism and Squirrel Girl’s commitment to suggesting alternatives to crime. This episode is especially entertaining as Freestyle Love Supreme make an appearance. How wonderful!

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Episode 4: “Who Would Win in a Fight?”

The humor is one of the most delightful parts of Squirrel Girl, and episode four continues to deliver. The humor is often intellectual in nature, such as when Nancy suddenly gives a freestyle monologue on skepticism, or Brain Drain recites his soul-draining poetry. I often end up loving the random parts more than the recurring plot about the art thief Fine Art.

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Episode 5: “The Second-Best Animal After Squirrels”

The best part of this episode is certainly the caller who discovers that she can now talk to dogs. Doreen is always excited about everything and happy for everyone, so the realization that she might be talking at cross purposes proves highly amusing. Fine Art also increases the drama as we head into the final episode of the season, but I have to admit I feel very little interest in Fine Art or their schemes, and really just wanted more of Doreen trying to use her show to help people.

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Episode 6: “Unbeatable”

Episode six wraps up the season in a satisfying way. Fine Art gets caught, of course, but the team also learns all about the power of friendship and the power of empathy. Doreen always tries to inspire other people to kindness, and she certainly will have inspired more than her fictional listeners with her positive attitude and belief that everyone contains a bit of good. Here’s hoping for another season!

Marvel Avengers Assembly: Orientation by Preeti Chhibber, Ill. by James Lancett

Marvel Avengers Assembly Orientation


Goodreads: Orientation
Series: None
Source: Marvel: Avengers Assembly #1
Published: 2020


After she ruins a few buildings during some superhero fights in Jersey City, middle schooler Ms. Marvel is invited by her idol, Carol Danvers, to train at the Avengers Institute. There she teams up with new best friends Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Squirrel Girl. But can they learn to work together to pass the decathlon at the end of the semester?

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Avengers Assembly: Orientation imagines popular new heroes like Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, America Chavez, and Miles Morales as middle school students who need to train at a special institute to develop their superhero skills. It is told in a multimedia format, with chapters switching among blog posts, diary entries, fan fiction, text messages, and comic strips. The concept will likely appeal to comic book lovers and reluctant readers. However, the multimedia format is not used to great advantage and the story line ultimately falls flat. I wanted to love Orientation because it features so many of my favorite heroes, but the book is simply not well executed.

One of my main critiques with the book may admittedly not be shared by young readers: the book makes very little sense. The multimedia format means that Kamala Khan and her friends are constantly sharing top-secret information about their identities and their superheroing over unsecure sites. They text openly about their secret identities, keep details of fights online (on “private” blogs that could easily be hacked), and publicly share videos of mistakes they have made like recognizing their best (non-superhero) friends in the middle of a battle. Apparently Kamala and her friends are extremely naive about online privacy. Maybe their new institute should address that?

Even if readers are also unconcerned about online privacy, however, the story line is rather lackluster. Most of the book is really just Kamala attending a new school and making friends. [Spoilers] But there is sort of side plot involving a truly ill-conceived plan to harm another student so a villain can time travel. The plot is purposely ridiculous and even the other villains do not understand it. The plan is so poorly designed that it never takes place. The villains are basically foiled within two pages by their own incompetence. Exciting? Not really. The whole thing feels like a slapdash attempt to add something more to a book that would otherwise just be Ms. Marvel attending school, but the concept is never properly integrated into the story.

Avengers Assembly: Orientation stars with an exciting concept of having beloved heroes all attend school together. But the plot is not well executed and the story ultimately fails to deliver. I had looked forward to this new release, but I, unfortunately, am not impressed.

3 Stars

10 Reasons to Read the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

I absolutely love the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics. But it can be difficult to get people to share my passion. They hear the name “Squirrel Girl” and just start to laugh! One of the great things about the comic is that it is usually very witty, and a lot of fun. It’s not a “serious” comic on the surface, though Squirrel Girl’s personal philosophy about finding the good in others does give readers a lot to ponder. So, in the spirit of sharing many of the aspects that make the series so enjoyable to read, here are 10 (mostly not very serious) reasons you should check out the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! (Shout out to Michael @ My Comic Relief for first prompting me to try the series!)

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Doreen Green is an upbeat protagonist who features the unusual powers of both girl and squirrel! She can talk to squirrels, and they often come to her aid in amusing scenarios.

Doreen is a computer science major, so readers get to learn cool computer science facts while reading the book

Doreen’s college roommate Nancy writes “Cat Thor” fan fiction, and it’s hilarious. Loki thinks so, too.

Squirrel Girl is truly unbeatable. She has faced villains as terrible as Doctor Doom and Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds–and won!

Squirrel Girl begins most of her fights by referring to her pack of villain cards, written by Deadpool. It’s unclear how accurate these cards are.

There’s a character called Chipmunk Hunk. Need I say more?

Doreen has a realistic body type and her costume is cool as well as tasteful. (I love that she always puts on the squirrel ear headband, even on top of her astronaut helmet.)

Doreen has a weird habit of updating her social media accounts in the middle of fights. She thinks she’s friends with Tony Stark. He doesn’t seem to think the same.

Squirrel Girl comics contain secret hidden messages on the bottom of each page! They’re usually funny, often meta, and sometimes about computer science. What a fun concept!

Squirrel Girl resorts to fighting as a last resort. Her high success rate comes from trying to figure out why a villain is lashing out, and trying to solve the root problem. She believes there is good in everyone, and she will go to nearly any length to draw that good out. She’s truly inspirational!

Marvel Rising: Heroes of the Round Table by Nilah Magruder, Roberto Di Salvo


Goodreads: Marvel Rising: Heroes of the Round Table
Series: Marvel Rising #2
Source: Library
Published: 2019


Ms. Marvel has invited her friends to take a college campus tour with the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl as their guide. But when Morgan le Fay is summoned by some students, the heroes have to put aside their worries about the future as they try to save the present from becoming a New Camelot with Morgan as their ruler!

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Ms. Marvel and the Unbeatable Squirrel girl are my two favorite superheroes, so I was beyond excited to see the two team up in the first Marvel Rising. Both see violence as a last resort, preferring to try to connect with or rehabilitate the villains they face. They bring empathy and compassion to their superheroing, and I admire that about both. Marvel Rising was a solid, if not mindblowing adventure, and so I naturally picked up the second installment, Heroes of the Round Table. The cover promised me a larger team-up with another one of my favorites,Captain Marvel, and fan favorite Spider-Gwen.

The cover, unfortunately, is a lie and fans should know that before heading in. Captain Marvel and Spider-Gwen do not feature in this volume, though Miles Morales, Inferno, and Quake do, along with America Chavez (actually depicted on cover). It is a good team up, even if I am less familiar with Inferno and Quake, and it reflects Kamala’s friend group. I suppose Captain Marvel would sell more books or something, though?

The storyline itself unfortunately leaves something to be desired. I have always enjoyed the King Arthur legends and so thought a story featuring Morgan le Fay would be compelling. Generally, however, it felt like there was too much going on, with Kamala worried about her future, Inferno and Quake navigating their relationship, Quake dealing with her past, Inferno dealing with her past, Squirrel Girl wanting to protect the environment…. The busyness of the illustrations did not help.

Altogether, it felt like the cast of superheroes was too large for the author to handle. Spiderman sort of disappears and America Chavez shows up just to punch things without really getting involved the plot (though showing up and punching things does seem in character for her). The others do not have significant time for their backstories to be explained or their characters to be developed. I wanted to love a story full of some of my favorite characters, but Marvel Rising: Heroes of the Round Table ultimately disappoints.

3 Stars