Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos
Lunella Lafayette (A.K.A Moon Girl) is a nine-year-old girl carrying the Inhuman gene, terrified of the Terrigen mists that could activate the gene’s potential at a moment’s notice and alter her body in ways she can’t predict. Thankfully, she’s a scientific genius who’s figured out how to protect herself from the transformation, if the grown-ups will only stop getting in her way. When Devil Dinosaur gets blasted through time, pursued by the primitive “Killer Folk,” an improbable friendship forms between brains and Tyrannosaurus-sized smashing power.
There’s a lot of wasted potential here, or at least potential not used to full effect within this volume, and the story is a bit unfocused. Lunella’s main goal is to take and keep control of her own body, life, and identity, which is great, and there’s a sense that she’ll succeed in asserting herself as a scientist and rejecting expectations all around her for what a little girl should be, but when the Inhuman transformation starts to play as more of a puberty allegory, a change she can’t choose to avoid, the message becomes muddled. The Killer Folk don’t make for an especially compelling antagonist, and between them, the antics of Devil Dinosaur running amok, and the full-of-themselves adults dismissing her at every turn, Lunella’s adventure is less an adventure that a series of episodic irritations she endures with few satisfying victories.
On top of the obvious pros of representation and science being cool and not evil, the combo of Lunella and Devil Dinosaur has a definite cuteness factor (“Mroo” may be the most adorable sound a red, time-displaced T-Rex could possibly make). Lunella’s passion for her chosen life’s work and her longing to be understood make her relatable across age groups, and her relationship with her parents is nicely complicated, full of disappointment, frustration, confusion, and genuine love.
Altogether a good-hearted read for all ages, and hopefully one that will find a bit more direction as the series progresses.
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