Moon Girl is revolutionary in not only is it trying to appeal to POC and female readers, but it’s also a comic book… aimed at children.
Yes, I know it’s shocking, but Moon Girl and The Devil Dinosaur is perfect for its age group as it’s got so much going for it: a relatable child genius who’s capable but held back by the Big Bad Adults, bright and colorful artwork and most important of all: a gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex. What ten year old wouldn’t want to read about that?
The art looks good and has a very cute aesthetic; lots of very soft, round faces, very bright colors and a look that makes it look like a very well drawn after school cartoon as can be seen below.
But what this comic really has as its real asset is the heroine, Lunella. Lunella is a child genius who loves science. Because she lives in the Marvel Universe, that means no boring titration experiments and waiting to see if the test paper changes colour: we can skip all those hypothesis and get straight to the ‘science’ that instantly give you superpowers ! As such, Lunella spends her days holed away in her room working on her most recent science project… a cool glowy orb with science fiction rings. And if fiction and video games has taught us anything, there’s nothing more powerful than glowy jewels.
Lunella is a really great child genius- .for a start, she actually comes across as a gifted child rather than a child who’s ‘gifted’ to compensate for the fact that she sounds too much like an adult because writing children is hard. She is smart, but she definitely still sounds like a kid.
What makes Lunella really fascinating because of her difficulties fitting in. Because she’s so advanced for her age, she has difficulty fitting into her age group, and struggles with the fact she doesn’t find school challenging. She’s dismissed by adults who just want her to conform, or won’t take her seriously because she’s a child.
Feeling isolated from their peers is definitely something that the more nerdy kids that are likely to buy this comic can relate to (I say that as a former child nerd), and what child doesn’t hate being treated like a kid? And also, wow, actual scientific talk in a comic- and not just techno babble to justify the existence of an earthquake machine or whatever madhat device the plot wants to justify. That’s something unique right there!
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how great it is to finally see a cool black girl taking the lead. It’s rare to see a black person being portrayed as a genius (see the new Ghost Busters, with the black woman being the token non scientist), and when we do see a smart black woman she’s often… kind of boring and a little too perfect- as if the writers were so concerned with making her a role model that they forgot to make her a character. Here, not only is Lunella smart, but also memorable and well rounded character. With her and the likes of Katara, Princess Moana and Connie from Steven Universe, it’s good there are more strong WOC in media who get to be more than ‘token black girl in the group’, though there’s still a lot of work to be done.
When the story focuses on Lunella and her life, it’s really engaging. But the few pages where we’re introduced to Devil Dinosaur were… kind of boring. Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur follows on from an already existing series, Moon Boy and The Devil Dinosaur- which I haven’t read- but apparently it involves Devil Dinosaur and a neanderthal.
I wasn’t such a fan of the neanderthals’ design in this comic, as they just looked like people wearing monkey costumes. Some gang of mean neanderthals seem to be trying to steal the glowy device, but are stopped by Moon Boy and Devil dinosaur.
The weird glowy orb device our heroine’s found apparently allows time travel and Devil Dinosaur and the villainous gang of neanderthals were taken through the portal and are running amok in the town.I found those parts a trial to get through, as I really didn’t care about any of it and would rather get back to Lunella, although I guess that part was necessary to set up the story. Where it will go, I’ll find out with the next issue, but we’re off to a strong start.
VERDICT: Although aimed at a younger audience and the more… surreal… storyline will probably make it harder for an adult to get into, there’s a lot to like. Lunella is an excellent heroine with a lot of potential, the dynamic between her and the adults around her was well written and the art looks great. I’d definitely recommend this to any child, or anyone who wants to read about a strong WOC.