Written by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder
Art by Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, Travis Lanham
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 24, 2016

Schoolgirl by day, crime fighter by night!

Lunella is learning how to make the best of both worlds by keeping up appearances for her teachers, classmates, and especially her parents. In one night of crimefighting, she comes across Ms. Marvel, Kamala Kahn, and finds herself a new mentor. This joyful development is cut short as Lunella deals with Marvin, leading to a confrontation that she is not too happy about.

As we get further into Lunella’s adventures, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is transforming into something wonderful. I already liked the series before, but issue #10 is a turning point for many reasons. For one, it continues Lunella’s struggle to belong while also bringing in changes that provide an extra framework for her problems. Second, the inclusion of new and guest characters allows the story to evolve because of the symbolism inherent within these people. For instance, Kamala’s presence in this issue reflects her growth as a character and her parallels with Lunella, especially as she first started out.

Even though Lunella continues to experience difficulties, Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder write her as someone who is simultaneously growing and taking a firm grasp on the world around her. She’s learning to play whatever parts she needs to without forsaking her desire to cure herself and fight crime. She really is a young girl trying so hard to find her own place, a struggle mirrored in other young and gifted black girls. Including Kamala was a genius move by these writers, because her story is similar to Lunella’s and shows that Lunella may develop into the hero Kamala is. I loved the powerful moment that sparked Kamala’s mentorship of Lunella because of the value and impact of legacy and Kamala’s own identity as a woman of color. This choice is monumental and speaks to Montclare and Reeder’s skill and deliberation as writers.

Maybe moreso than with other issues, I realized how Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain make New York look like New York. Lunella is in a class with all sorts of different kids. The art team’s work speaks to the cultural narrative inherent within the titular character. Bustos delivers the highest quality of art in the series thus far. From Kamala to the Kree, Bustos has a remarkable talent for using a style which is boisterous and diverse, illustrating a wide range of people and how they interact with their world. Bonvillain’s colors work within the youthful framework of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, with soft hues and creative use of primary schemes. The color art’s subdued nature also reflects Lunella’s struggle, as each scene uses ironically muted but rather starkly contrasting shades, conveying her reservations and her challenges despite her being a child enmeshed in a world of lighthearted adventure.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #10 is something special. I love reading about each of Lunella’s adventures, and the series inspires me to consider what the world is like for girls like her and how her own story as a budding Inhuman plays out in everyday life. This issue captures the wonder and mystery of looking up to our heroes while also acknowledging the complex emotional lives of youngsters. This is a great series for any age and this issue is a shining spot among Marvel’s roster.

The Verdict: 10/10


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