One of my favorite things to do for the site was looking up the slate of upcoming Marvel movies and realize I knew nothing about a specific character. I’d then take a deep-dive into that character’s history and provide a full rundown of their past and where I thought the character’s future might go. With COVID-19 putting the movie industry on hold, I’ve run out of superhero movies, but that doesn’t matter. I will be searching high and low for obscure characters and comic series that I feel more people should know. Unless you clicked on this without seeing the title, you should already know what we’re talking about today, but just in case you were overzealous, let’s talk about Moon Girl.
Telling the story of 9-year-old wiz-kid Lunella Lafayette, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: The Beginning is a comics collection that introduces readers to a fantastic new character who is trying to find her place in a well established Marvel Universe. Her hopes of one day fitting in become even more complicated as she discovers an alien device that rips a hole in space and time. While a discovery like this might sound fantastical for some, for Lunella, she now finds herself having to deal with a roaming band of cavemen looking to cause chaos and a 10 foot tall T-Rex who might as well be one big puppy. It’s with these introductions that Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, and Natacha Bustos’ work reveal a fun, light-hearted tale that manages to tug at my heartstrings and remind me of movies of my youth like TMNT 2: Secret of The Ooze and Surf Ninjas. While comparisons like this may give off the impression that Moon Girl’s story is less than excellent, I promise that once readers see a gang of cavemen walking around in modern-day “punk” attire, it will all make sense.
Thankfully for Lunella, Moon Girl is the type of story that’s more about her journey and the friends she meets along the way. While it’s fun to wonder how this 9-year-old girl and her newly adopted dinosaur are going to handle a gang of cavemen, the story never gets bogged down with the concern of a conflict’s outcome. It’s a superhero story, and we know she’s going to win. Instead of the suspense being built around the result of a fight, Moon Girl’s story places it around the many life lessons that she learns and how she handles them. After all, Lunella is only a little kid. She isn’t a 28-year-old who’s already become a developed adult that’s had superpowers thrust upon them. Not only does she need to learn responsibility with her powers, but she also has to learn what it means to be responsible in the real world. I think having the story structured around this is what makes Moon Girl such an enjoyable read. Everything in the story feels familiar while also giving me the experience of discovering my favorite character all over again. It’s like I’m an 8-year-old picking up Spider-Man for the time.
Not everything with this collection is perfect. While my complaints are minimal at best and more directed at the comic industry than the book itself, those complaints still exist. As I said at the beginning of this article, I’m looking for obscure characters and comics so that I may present them to others who want to jump into comics. So when this story gives me an Incredible Hulk that isn’t Bruce Banner, I immediately feel lost and distracted from the story that I’m trying to enjoy. This all becomes even more frustrating because other characters and alien races introduced throughout the story receive such great context.
And I understand that an easy argument against this nit-pick is that if I’m that interested in who Amadeus Cho is, then I should go pick up a comic about him. In a world where veteran readers tell people like me to “jump in” and start reading, these moments can become daunting, and I worry that it might scare future readers from wanting to read other stories. I especially feel strongly about this opinion when reading a book like this because Moon Girl is such a perfect introduction to the Marvel world.
Ultimately, my complaints about this collection are few and far between. Moon Girl does a fantastic job of telling a story that both older and younger readers can relate to. While I think it would great to see Ms. Lafayette get her own movie or series on Disney Plus, we’re several years away from that possibly becoming a reality. Until then, please pick up a copy of this collection and get introduced to one of my favorite new superheroes, Moon Girl.