display | more...

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder
Illustrated by Natacha Bustos
Marvel Comics, 2016

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is the name for both the first (and currently only) series of Moon Girl comic books and of her first graphic novel, which collects the first six issues of the series. This review deals with the graphic novel, i.e., the origin of Moon Girl.

A little background for those not fully schooled in the Marvel Universe; terrigen mist, left by ancient aliens, has a severe mutational effect on humans, turning them into superheroes and/or horrible mutants. However, only certain people are affected -- those with a specific genetic predisposition. Which brings us to Luna.

Ten-year-old Lunella Lafayette has one mission in life: to cure superheroism. It's not as crazy as it sounds; she is, after all, a genius, and while sequencing her genome one day, she discovered that she was carrying the superhero gene. It is not okay for aliens to be messing with her body, so she's going to put a stop to it.

Luna has the misfortune to live in a city where terrigen clouds are frequent and unpredictable. Some parents might move; some parents might support their daughter in her scientific studies; her parents do neither. So Luna is forced to have a secret lab, to disguise her inventions, and to generally act like an average middle-schooler. Well, more or less. A grumpy, genius middle-schooler. Despite this, she is able to hunt down a mysterious bit of alien tech -- an omni-wave projector, maybe? Oh well, she'll figure it out. Except that her gym coach confiscates it, and accidentally triggers a trans-temporal event. Which brings us to Moon Girl's sidekick (or something), Devil Dinosaur!

Devil Dinosaur is not a new character. He originally appeared in Jack Kirby's Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur back in 1978. Moon-Boy makes a brief appearance, saying goodbye to Devil Dinosaur as he lies dying(?), just before a magic vortex takes Devil Dinosaur and the evil Killer-Folk to modern-day New York.

And so the stage is set! Luna (soon to be known as Moon Girl, whether she likes it or not) and Devil Dinosaur must fight 1. The Hulk, who turns out to be a bit of a jerk when it comes to giant red dinosaurs accidently breaking his city, 2. the police, parents, and teachers, because no one understands, 3. the Killer-Folk, who turn out to be pretty nasty, and surprise, too much for the authorities to deal with, and especially and always 4. the blight on mankind that is terrigen. She's got it under control, though.

Overall, this is a good story with good art, and is a good read for children and adults alike. I am not particularly a fan of comic books, and I did find certain aspects annoying; wordy and needless monologs, fragmented and overlapping speech and narration, and some frankly silly inventions (at times Moon Girl isn't much different from Inspector Gadget in style). However, these are fairly minor issues, and not unexpected in the classic comic book format. If you're looking for the lighter side of the Marvel Universe, this is an excellent choice, perhaps only second to Squirrel Girl.