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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: “BFF” (Marvel Comics, 2015; #1-6)

Between her recent appearance in The Unstoppable Wasp (which you should be reading) and her upcoming role in Secret Warriors, it seems like a good time to check out Lunella Lovegood’s exploits in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.

I was not prepared for nigh omnipresent pathos in a book about a 9-year-old girl and her pet dinosaur. From the start, Lunella is an outsider. Her parents don’t understand her and would rather she act like a normal child instead of a genius. Teachers chastise her for not paying attention when they fail to challenge her. Other kids make fun of her, so she buries herself in her work. Even the explanation of how Devil Dinosaur shows up in the present is sad.

Moon Girl doesn’t wallow in misery, though. She focuses on her projects (and her goal of avoiding an Inhuman transformation) instead of becoming self-demonizing in turn. Montclare and Reeder maintain a skillful balance between making the audience feel for Lunella without ever letting her give in to self-pity. (And when she’s at her most adult and disaffected, they’ll remind you that she is, in fact, a child, and twist the knife.) It’s an excellent book that deftly captures an all-too-common experience.

The art in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is as bittersweet as its subject matter. Bonvillan’s palette is bright and playful, a constant reminder of the invincibility and expected joy of childhood. And Bustos’s line-work is spectacular. Not only is it playful and detailed, but it is expressive. Devil Dinosaur’s sad puppy faces and physicality steal the show here.

Don’t go into Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur expecting traditional super-heroics or nothing but laughs. While you will chuckle from time to time, the pathos is strong with this one. But it’s a captivating read, and it does an fantastic job of introducing and quickly fleshing out a new character who is different than anyone else headlining a Marvel book right now.

Collected in

  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF (#1-6)


Writer: Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder | Artist: Natacha Bustos | Colorist: Tamra Bonvillan | Letterer:  VC’s Travis Lanham | Covers: Amy Reeder | Editors: Mark Paniccia, Emily Shaw

Nailbiter: “Blood in the Water” (Image Comics, 2014; #11-15)

Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory (DC Comics, 1996; OGN)