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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 1: BFF Paperback – July 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–8—A fun, all-ages comic series with an unlikely heroine and her larger-than-life sidekick. Luna Lafayette is an eight-year-old supergenius who is frustrated with the adults in her life, her dull and unchallenging school and classmates, and by the knowledge that she carries the "inhuman" gene, which will cause a mutation if she becomes exposed to the alien-origin Terrigen Cloud. In BFF (which collects issues one through six), she and Devil Dinosaur haphazardly team up to fight Neanderthals after the T. rex and the prehistoric men are teleported to the present day. In Cosmic Cooties (which collects issues seven through 12), Luna discovers that the Terrigen Cloud gave her the ability to switch bodies with Devil Dinosaur, a power that proves extremely problematic to her science project with a new boy at school and her archnemesis, Kid Kree. The prickly African American fourth grader makes for a unique and inspiring STEM-focused superheroine, and kids will cheer for and laugh at her partnership with the loving but disaster-prone Devil Dinosaur. The action-packed scenes, cameos by the Hulk and Ms. Marvel, and hilarious dialogue make up for the wooden adult characters and uneven pacing of the first few issues. The colorful, slick, and expressive art will have young readers flipping through the pages quickly. VERDICT A wonderful start to a much-needed, well-done, inclusive comic series that deserves a place in all libraries.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal
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The first six issues included in this volume sets up the story well and gives credence to Devil Dinosaur returning to our present day while introducing a spunky girl who refuses to give up. The threat that drives her is a great link into main Marvel continuity as well as slightly explores the thoughts of a latent Inhuman on becoming mist-ified. The Killer Folk becoming their own gang in a present day city is inspired enough to be amusing with interestingly dangerous possibilities if they don't just go thug throughout.
The art is well done and has a cherubic fluidity that gives it slightly bubbly yet sleek shapes that illustrate the actions of the characters well. The colors are bright and inviting yet with a slick effect that reminds me of an animated feature. I especially loved Devil Dinosaur’s flaming eyes and Moon Girl’s roller skating action shots. Great poses and panel layouts are fairly dynamic serving the action.
What I find slightly disappointing is how quickly the six issues go. Maybe it’s the slightly action focus. For instance, the Totally Awesome Hulk guest-starring while cool does detract from the core story a little when just the fight between him and Devil Dinosaur lasts a whole issue. The parents view on Lunella’s situation is a tad one-dimensional. They don’t really give any true support beyond the standard parental orders of “go to school” and “no extracurricular activities” and only mentioning they know about her inhuman DNA and fear. They mean well, true, but there’s no true depth in my eyes to the interactions. If they actually provided some suggestions, that might have endeared them more to me. As-is , they seem to be just another foil to Lunella’s goals. While that serves plot somewhat it doesn’t really serve character to me.
What it does get through is the fear Lunella has of her inhuman DNA and her skepticism and disappointment of everyday school life and her parents. Devil Dinosaur could be smarter in interaction but he wasn’t portrayed as truly dumb either. Overall, I’m impressed with the relationship between the two and would love to see more.
The sixth issue ends on a cliffhanger with Lunella being confronted by the mists she fears so much. Devil Dinosaur takes care of her but it’s hard to say what the result would be. The Killer Folk had ditched their god but it leaves the question of what will they do next. And what about the parents? As one-dimensional as they had been in this volume, I’m personally hoping they’d wise up and become story-serving characters and pull some weight.
Fun story with endearing main characters and promising plot points, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur the series is off to a good start. I’m looking forward to what happens next.