Writers: Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare / Artist: Natacha Bustos / Marvel Comics
Some comics are so good you arrive 10 minutes early to the comic stores (shout out to Fantom Comics) and then miss where you were supposed to get off the bus on the way to work. True story. If issue #5 showed us the struggle of growing up Black girl brilliant, then this issue is all about the fear, as a Black parent, of simultaneously shielding your child from a world bent on their destruction and equipping them with enough life tools that they can stand on their own… even if it sometimes means defying you.
Those who have been keeping up with my reviews so far will know that I consistently express a dislike of the Killer Folk as characters, but in this comic they’re finally put to their best use as symbols of the stress forcing Lunella and her mother apart. Similar to Lunella’s condition, the Killer Folk are foreign to Lunella and her mother’s world, a constant threat, and seem to be intent on wreaking havoc, with no force capable of stopping them. Much like Blackness itself, the “scent” attached to Lunella is inextricably carried by her mother, so no matter how many times Lunella’s mother holds her hand down the sidewalk, there is (as Lunella points out) no real protection she can offer that wouldn’t also endanger both of them. So how does a parent cope?
Wisely, this issue is careful not to provide too many answers, instead pivoting the focus to Lunella’s growing sense of self and responsibility. Like generational differences in attitudes towards solving oppression, Lunella’s strategies and resources are vastly different from her mother’s, but each represents their own respective assessment of the consequences. Rather than being motivated out of rebellion, however, Lunella does attempt to view her plight from her mother’s vantage point without compromising her own integrity. Unlike many all ages stories that attempt to frame adults as either all-encompassing good or ultimate evil, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur emphatically represents parents and children as people with different kinds of experiences and understandings.
Importantly, in this issue in particular we’re also able to see both the positive and negative consequences that come from each person without judgment of either.
Prepare yourself, however, for another gut-wrenching cliff hanger at the very end. I won’t give anything away, but I will say I am totally at a loss for what the future might hold for any of our characters in issue #7.