MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #4
Written By Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder
Art by Natacha Bustos & Tamra Bonvillain
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 24, 2016
It’s okay, Lunella. I wouldn’t be that impressed with Hulk either.
Lunella and Amadeus have a verbal sparring match, while the Green Giant takes on the Red Ravager in a much more physical sense. As she tries to break up the fight between these two titans, Lunella has to concede in a most heartbreaking fashion, coming face to face with dashed hopes and dreams.
I cannot express enough how important Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is. I’ve repeatedly talked about why we need gifted Black kids represented and comics, and Moon Girl captures why. Sometimes it can be rather lonely being a smart Black kid, and Lunella is someone through which we can explore this narrative. Add a giant crimson dinosaur and things become even more dicey. While I hate to see so many hurdles in Lunella’s way, I feel that the story is a rather realistic way to explore what it’s like to feel like a strange in the world around you, even if people affirm the part of you that makes you stand out. This series continues to delight in terms of narrative but also the progressing story, a strength as it was a gamble on creating a series centered around a young Black girl..
So, reading this before getting work done was a bad idea, as Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder tore my heart into pieces. Granted, there are some really awesome scenes detailing Lunella’s interaction with Amadeus. She does not back down and shows her smarts and spirit, letting him know she’s more than willing to show him who’s boss. However, it’s the emotional scenes that got me. Lunella’s heartbreak, not only at feeling misunderstood but also not knowing what’s going to happen with Devil Dinosaur. She thought Amadeus would see where she was coming from, but she only ended up feeling more alone. I’ve talked before about how portraying these emotions in gifted Black children is important; Montclare and Reeder excel at conveying Lunella’s alienation from others, but her desperation in seeking people who are like her. These feelings are pivotal in defining Lunella as a charater, and I hope she finds a way to remedy them for herself as she becomes more of a hero.
The visuals of this issue gave me a completely different feel than the previous three. It’s almost like Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain took a risk in making the art more energetic and playful than it has been so far. Despite the emotionally raw themes, which were deftly displayed through their work, Bustos and Bonvillain almost seemed to have a joking element to each image. I liked the varied use of panels and spaces, particularly in the more active parts of the issue. The art team used their sense of space well to convey not only movement, but emotion. I absolutely LIVE for each and every one of Lunella’s expressions, even the ones that break my heart. What I hope is that this youthful element of the art continues through the series. It helps to provide a balance between the evocative story, but also Lunella’s age.
This issue in particular had an all-ages feel to it. While the previous issues definitely don’t depart from this sentiment, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #4 pump up the activity and the fun. There’s a lot of really great themes to explore in this issue, especially toward the end. For the parents out there, I highly recommend giving this issue to your children. Not a parent? Enjoy the lively story and art as well as the emotional undercurrent running through the story. I will definitely continue to recommend this series, as it has been one of the most enjoyable in the All-New All-Different roll-out.
The Verdict: 9.0/10