Writer: Brandon Montclare / Artist: Natacha Bustos / Marvel Comics
It’s not flashy. It’s not bloody. It’s doesn’t have dark and winding plot points like Game of Thrones. But even with a character that isn’t necessarily what one would consider “marquee”, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur earns its keep by staying genuine and heartfelt in its depiction of a girl who struggles with being both a kid and a hero, approaching both in her own unique way.
Issue #33 continues Moon Girl’s quickly escalating beef with the Kingpin’s “daughter.” That sentence on its own should be enough to justify picking up this book, honestly. The issue takes a detour for a subplot about our hero’s connection with Devil Dinosaur getting out of hand and leaves the story in an interesting place.
However, I find it way more interesting watching Lunella navigate the status quo at school. I love that everyone at school knows she’s Moon Girl but only kinda takes her seriously…but just seriously enough. Brandon Montclare writes children with a voice that’s familiar and relatable without a lot of the built-in condescension that comes with the skewed (and oftentimes, jaded) perspective that comes with being an adult. You don’t have to have your own giant red dinosaur and roller skate shoes to feel like you’ve been in Lunella’s shoes before.
Visually, Natacha Bustos is a godsend. I’m not just talking about the technical stuff like linework either (though the linework IS stellar). Bustos excels at bringing readers down a few feet to a kid’s level and allowing them to view the world through young eyes. There’s a scene with Princess and the Kingpin at dinner that looks and feels like what you suspect a villain’s lair might seem like if you were an eight-year-old complete with all the cake you want before you’ve finished dinner.
Bottom Line: This book doesn’t get nearly enough credit for its “all ages” accessible afrofuturist style. Given the fickle nature of Big Two title rotation and the overall social climate, this book has stuck around for a lot longer than I guessed it would have and just about every issue has been a great example of why.
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