Writers: Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare / Artist: Natacha Bustos / Marvel Comics
This far into the series and I can tell you that if Marvel doesn’t create an animated series for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur soon, it will be a colossal waste of potential. This particular issue serves as an excellent example of Saturday morning cartoon goodness as Moon Girl finally meets her rival, the brilliant and bold Captain — err, Kid Kree — and demonstrates what it means to triumph in the face of mild annoyances if not evil.
Currently the relationship between Devil Dinosaur and Lunella has shifted finally to one of complete trust and comfortable kinship, and I really enjoy the true conversations the two have rather than Lunella’s biting derision and sarcasm. While there’s still a few jokes about Devil Dinosaur being a pet, readers clearly understand that our duo has a sincere partnership of understanding. This reality couldn’t settle at a better time as Lunella grapples with what it means to be someone whose existence creates a “problem” that her teachers and family aren’t quite sure how to solve. As with issue #5, we return to the theme of Black girl brilliance struggling to thrive in an environment that was simply not built to support her. Take, for instance, the Lego competition the class is entering. By all accounts this should be an event that Lunella adores and excels at, but between the suspicions of her teacher and the pressure from her classmates Lunella actually withdraws more. Even with her “clandestine” superhero activities (and let’s be honest, she’s not trying very hard to hide the fact) it’s still saddening to watch Lunella’s socializing shrink in favor of the work at hand.
Of course, Reeder and Montclare anticipate this and paired with Bustos’ tender yet bright illustrations we’re treated to a genuine moment of self-reflection in which Lunella considers these negative factors in her life and how’s she’s grown to meet the challenges by “building” her own definition of herself. Lessons like this is why I continue to score Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur so high as I have rarely seen an all-ages comic so beautifully connect legitimate life lessons with an atmosphere that continues to push and mature its main character without ignoring the struggles that come with growing up. The Lunella that bitterly seethed at her school in our first issue is certainly not the girl who appraises the taunts of the new student as simple insecurity and whose focus remains unwavering when her superpowers are called upon. I was pleasantly surprised to read how different Moon Girl interacted with Kid Kree as a menace as opposed to the brattiness she displayed in her encounter with the Totally Awesome Hulk. This gives me a great deal of anticipation for the next issue’s cameo who is already a personal as well as BNP favorite. I mean… it’s only a matter of time before the smartest person in the Marvel universe accepts an invitation to The Avengers, right?