Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur volume 1: BFF


By Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain & various (Marvel)
ISBN: 978-1-3029-0005-2

The Marvel Universe is absolutely stuffed with astounding young geniuses but Lunella Lafayette is probably the most memorable you’ll ever meet. Very young, very gifted and black, she lives with her parents on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and attends Public School 20 Anna Silver on Essex Street.

Thanks to her obsessive interest in astronomy and alien races the other kids mockingly call her “Moon Girl” whilst the brilliant, bored 4th grader’s teachers universally despair because she already knows so much more than they do…

It’s a hassle, but Lunella has bigger problems. Time is running out and all her numerous applications to specialist schools such as the Fantastic Four’s Future Foundation have gone unanswered.

Lunella has deduced that she carries dormant Inhuman genes, and the constantly moving mutagenic Terrigen Cloud recently released into Earth’s atmosphere (See the Infinity and Inhumanity events) could transform her into a monster at any windswept moment…

Thanks to her researches, Lunella is an expert in advanced and extraterrestrial technology and her quest for a cure or Terrigen deterrence procedure finds her perpetually sneaking out after bedtime to hunt down gadgets and detritus left behind after the frequent superhero clashes around town…

That impetus reaches its hope-filled climax when her handmade detectors locate a discarded Kree Omni-Wave Projector in opening chapter ‘Repeat After Me’

At some unspecified time in Earth’s prehistory, various emergent species of hominids eked out a perilous existence beside the last of the great lizards and other primordial giants. Here a wide-eyed innocent of the timid but clever Small Folk saved a baby tyrannosaur from ruthless humanoid hunters dubbed the Killer Folk.

They had already slaughtered its mother and siblings with cunning snares and were torturing the little lizard with blazing firebrands which turn its scorched hide a livid, blazing red when Moon Boy intervened…

Under the roaring light of a blazing volcano boy and beast bonded; becoming inseparable companions. It soon became apparent the scarlet saurian was no ordinary reptile. Blessed with uncanny intelligence and unmatchable ferocity, Devil became an equal partner in a relationship never before seen in the world.

That did not, however, prevent the duo becoming targets for ruthless Killer Folk leader Thorn-Teeth who slaughters and sacrifice beasts and Small Folk to the mystic “Nightstone”. A more advanced observer might remark on how much it resembles a Kree Omni-Wave Projector…

When Moon-Boy steals the dread talisman he is savagely beaten near to death even as – in a gym class on Essex Street – Coach Hrbek confiscates and accidentally activates a fancy doodad Lunella’s been playing with instead of paying attention.

Lights flash, time shreds and universes collide. A hole opens in space and a pack of bizarre monkey men shamble into modern New York. Arriving too late in the antediluvian valley, Devil Dinosaur thunders straight through the portal, intent on avenging his dying comrade…

Arriving in an impossibly confusing new world, Devil reacts in panic but, after causing chaos and carnage, the bombastic beast sniffs little Lunella and snatches her up…

A mad chase ensues in ‘Old Dogs and New Tricks’ as the confused Devil rampages through Manhattan with the outraged Lunella unable to escape or control the ferocious thunder lizard. Meanwhile, the Killer Folk begin quickly adapting to their new environment. Hiding out and observing everything occurring in the Yancy Street Subway Station, they soon prove the old adage about primitive not meaning stupid, and within days have grasped the fundamentals of English and concepts such as money, clothes, street gangs and protection rackets…

Thorn-Teeth also remembers that when they arrived, one of the hairless Small Folk was holding his Nightstone…

In ‘Out of the Frying Pan…’ Moon Girl is having little luck ditching the overly-attentive, attention-drawing Titian T-Rex. Tragically, when she finally does the Killer Folk instantly abduct her and the Omni-Wave…

Their triumph is short-lived as the lizard’s superior sense of smell summons Devil to the rescue, but in the resulting melee the precious device is lost. Growing grudgingly fond of the colossal critter, Lunella then hides Devil in her super-secret lab underneath PS 20, but when a spot of student arson sets the school ablaze, her hideaway is exposed as Devil bursts up through the ground to rescue kids trapped on an upper floor…

The fracas also unfortunately attracts the kind of super hero response Lunella has been dreading. ‘Hulk + Devil Dinosaur = “Nuff Said”’ sees smug, teenaged Gamma-powered Avenger Amadeus Cho butt in with his bulging muscles and inability to listen to reason…

Poor Devil is no match for the Totally Awesome Hulk, forcing Moon Girl to intervene with a few of her own inventions even as, across town, the Killer Folk – proudly carrying the Nightstone – despatch the last obstacle to their supremacy in the Yancy Street criminal underworld…

The Battle of PS 20 reaches its inevitable conclusion and Cho confiscates Devil Dinosaur, leaving Lunella thoroughly grounded and (apparently) behaving like a normal little girl in ‘Know How’. Of course, it’s all a trick and as soon as everybody is lulled into complacency Moon Girl kits herself out with more devious gadgets and busts Devil out from the Top Secret Wing of the Natural History Museum.

She’s on a tight deadline now: her weather-monitoring gear confirms that the Terrigen Cloud is rolling back towards New York…

The spectacular jailbreak results in a ‘Eureka!’ moment, coinciding with the Killer Folk consolidating their grip on the streets and using the Omni-Wave to capture Moon Girl. It also results in Lunella’s mum discovering who broke a dinosaur out of jail and furiously heading to the school for a reckoning with her wayward child…

The final conflict sees out little warrior finally victorious over the Killer Folk, but too late. As Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur roar in triumph on the rooftops, Lunella realises she is trapped outside as the Terrigen cloud descends. Her time and opportunity to create a cure has come and gone…

To Be Continued…

Collecting Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1-6 from January to June 2016, this compelling and immensely entertaining romp is crafted by writers Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder, with art from Natacha Bustos, colours by Tamra Bonvillain and letters from Travis Lanham. With a cover and variants gallery by Trevor Von Eeden, Pascal Campton, Paul Pope, Jeffrey Veregge and Pia Guerra, this addictively engaging trade paperback (also available in eBook formats) affords non-stop fun: a wonderful all-ages Marvel saga that is fresh, thrilling, moving and hilariously funny.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: BFF is just the kind of tale to lure youngsters into the comics habit and is the perfect tool to seduce jaded older fans back into the fold.
© 2016 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.