Genre: young adult, graphic novel
Published: February 19, 2019 by: Marvel
Rating: 5/5 stars
CW: bullying, racism, sexism
Lunella Lafayette is a kid genius who plans to change the world. However, she also lives in fear of her Inhuman gene, which she vows to fix. Her plans to rid herself of the gene go awry when instead of fixing herself, she releases a prehistoric beast known as Devil Dinosaur into the modern world. Lunella takes it upon herself to use her new friend for good, and she and Devil Dinosaur team up in an unlikely duo, bodyswapping along the way to help Lunella cope with the struggles of growing up, while also dealing with some new dangers in her home city.
I thought this was such a unique superhero text! My mother got me this graphic novel for Christmas, along with one of the original Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur comics from the 70's. This graphic novel breathes new life into the story by depicting a young Black girl with a passion for science, who knows she will do great things, but is also dealing with growing up amidst unique changes that none of her peers can relate to. I thought Lunella as a character was incredibly likable, and Devil Dinosaur was a hilarious companion as well. Overall, this graphic novel captivated me as a new reader of the Devil Dinosaur character, but I think it may also delight people familiar with the original story arc.
I really appreciated how the writers wrote Lunella to be a kid, and they didn't try to make her sound more mature than she needed to be. Lunella is so intelligent, that much is certain. But, she also doesn't have the same life experiences as the adults around her, and the writers didn't make her sound like a wise old man in the body of a preteen. Instead, she makes mistakes. She laughs, she cries. She has normal, kid emotions. I thought this characterization was super important to see because I think it allows kids to connect with her character, and it also reveals to adults how important it is to give kids the ability to let their voices be heard.
I think this book played with different symbols very well. For example, Lunella is dealing with this unique gene that she wants to rid herself of, that none of her peers have. Such gene makes her feel isolated, and uncomfortable. The writers were able to play with the Inhuman gene in a way that ties it to Lunella's journey through young adulthood. She's experiences all of these new life changes, coming into her superhero powers, failing to be heard from the adults around her, and at her core, she just wants to be perceived as normal. However, the authors reveal that there really is no such thing as "normal," and that all of her abnormalities are actually what make her brilliant.
The writers definitely took the original story of Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur and decided to bring it into the 21st century by putting a diverse teen girl at the front of the story so that more young kids can relate to Lunella's experiences and feel connected to her character. I definitely found the story layout to be entertaining, witty, with some great comic relief throughout. There are also some cameos made by other Marvel characters which I very much appreciated, and I think folks will really like how the writers introduced Lunella into the greater MCU. I can see Marvel do a lot with her character, and I think she has been a welcome addition into this universe.
Have you read Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess