Written By Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder
Art by Natacha Bustos & Tamra Bonvillain
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 30, 2016

Here, officially, is the arrival of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur!

Lunella plays it safe with her school and her parents, putting on airs that she’s given up a life of high intelligence and Kree technology. In reality, she arms herself with her gadgets to spring Devil Dinosaur from his cage. A daring rescue attempt signifies the end of an arc as two new friends band together.

So much of this issue was Lunella being a 9-year-old girl with a much older brain and it absolutely worked. From her understanding of the people around her to her costume, Lunella is very much a youngster with the intellect to rival Reed Richards. The synthesis of these rather disparate parts of herself are a perfect manifestation of the independence that must be fostered within children but also what that would look like with nigh limitless intelligence. Lunella’s characterization is most apt, combining elements you’d normally think are opposed to each other in a manner that feels organic.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5 is a culmination of Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder’s teamwork and not simply because this issue is the end of the first arc. Instead, Montclare and Reeder have taken threads woven from the start of the series and brought them together in a garment that reflects Lunella’s steadfast and hardened resolve with Devil Dinosaur’s compassion and sentimentality. In this chapter, Lunella has refused to be the “normal” child, opting for a life of fighting crime, saving herself, and rescuing gigantic crimson dinosaurs. The writers reveal a defining dynamic about Lunella and her companion that will carry the series forward and that serves as a moment of clarity for the protagonists. The contrast in Devil Dinosaur, huge but a reptilian teddy bear, creates a wonderful interplay between the titular characters that will bring with it a slew of narrative tools as the series moves into its second arc.

Natacha Bustos employs dynamic lines and purposeful use of panels and shape to drive the action of this issue. From the beginning of the issue, the pages move from a stillness characterized by what people in Lunella’s world want for her to the activity and motion of her claiming Moon Girl as her title and donning her costume. Bustos’ art keeps up with the story in a way that feels more and more lively with each turn of the page. Mirroring Bustos’ work throughout the issue, Tamra Bonvillain’s colors take on some interesting aspects as the story progresses. The first few pages are a semblance of normality, as their brightness stands out with little emphasis on specific visual elements. However, Bonvillain’s colors eventually are used to emphasize Lunella and Devil Dinosaur as forces of agency and nature, their sharpness standing out from their environment.

It’s taken some time to build Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur to this point, and issue #5 was a natural end to the first arc of the series. There is definitely no lack of precocious charm or imagination as Lunella asserts herself as a hero and friend to her friendly neighborhood tyrannosaurus. The thematic elements in the writing and art were a great choice for this issue, and they help both of the characters appear important and powerful and reveal the dynamic between the two characters as they continue their adventure. This series has been great since its first issue and this installment was no exception.

The Verdict: 9.0/10


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