When I'm reading comic books, cute isn't the first thing I'm looking for. Usually it's all about the art, the writing and the manifestation of certain moral conundrums in the hearts and minds of some of my favorite characters. But I have had to amend those prior thoughts just a little bit after reading the first six issues of Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
- Writers: Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder
- Artist: Natacha Bustos
- Colourist: Tamra Bonvillain
- Cover: Amy Reeder
Look, I'm a grown man. But Lunella is just too damn adorable. Okay, let me break it down for you; 9-year-old Lunella Lafayette is a genius who is struggling with fitting into a school system that limits her intelligence and resourcefulness rather than help her grow.
Additionally, she has come to learn that she is one of the Inhumans. For those who are unfamiliar with the Inhumans from the comic book or as it has been popularized in the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD television series, she is the descendant of a group of humans who had their DNA altered by travelers from the Kree Empire thousands of years ago. These alterations are triggered when those who carry the gene inhale a gas called the Terrigen Mists.
Fatal to normal humans, the mist causes the Inhumans who inhale it to develop powers, physical alterations and psychological changes as well. Little Miss Lafayette is a bright child and is well aware of the implications. She doesn't want to change. Not for the children at her school, not for her loving parents and not for any super powers either. Her fellow students are put off by her intelligence and her love for daydreaming, yet in awe of her ability to invent gadgets. They begin to derisively call her Moon Girl, which sticks.
For really old school comic book readers, Devil Dinosaur is iconic. First created by Jack "King" Kirby in 1978 (Devil Dinosaur #1), Devil hails from an Earth in a parallel universe called Dinosaur World. His first companion was an ape-like humanoid named Moon-Boy.
Over the years, he has only appeared sporadically in the Marvel continuum, perhaps because dinosaurs simply stop being "cool" for most of us after we turn 11-years-old or so. But Marvel isn't in the business of euthanizing Kirby creations. To that end, Devil has fought alongside and against the Thing, Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Fallen Angels, the Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Heroes for Hire, and has even appeared briefly in DC Comics' Anthro.
Most of the time, whenever Devil pops up in a new reality it is by accident. The first issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur sees him accidentally teleported from his realm of existence to Earth 616 (our world), where he finds a fast friend in Lunella Lafayette (Seriously, how black is her name? Very!).
Though Lunella is a child, there's nothing childish about the writing as she and Devil battle the accidental time-stowaways the Killer-Folk, fights the Totally Awesome Hulk (Not to be confused with the Incredible Hulk) and battles a young Kree warrior.
Eventually, the Terrigenesis that Lunella most feared occurs, but with no noticeable physical effects. However, during an argument with an undercover Kree soldier, it is revealed that she has the ability to switch consciousness with Devil Dinosaur. But it has not been revealed whether this occurs only when she is angered or if she can do so at will.
I have just finished reading issues #4, #5 and #6 of Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. WELL DONE!
Lunella has a smart mouth and quick wit. She's a 9-year-old Black girl from New York's Lower East Side who actually is written to act and behave like one. Devil Dinosaur is basically Clifford the Big Red Dog with an attitude. Themes of fitting in, not wanting to compromise self in order to grow, and the love of two wonderful parents struggling to contain their Inhuman baby girl are prominent in these issues. Great stuff!