Sorry for the delay in this post–I got hit with a bad cold over the weekend, and I’m just now to the point where I can think about saying anything coherent. (I don’t know if I can actually say anything coherent, but I can at least pretend now.) And I figured I’d talk about ‘Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur’, since I bought issue #3 the day before I got sick.
It’s…it’s good enough to earn an issue #4, I’ll put it that way. There are definitely things to like about the comic; Lunella is an adorable kid who manages to avoid a lot of the traditional “kid genius” tropes floating around in science fiction. She’s not adorkable the way most of them are; she’s spiky, tense, irritable and anti-social. Which sounds like she’s also unsympathetic and unlikable, but the book does a good job of explaining why she feels so alienated from everyone around her and why she’s so driven. Honestly, it feels like this could be the origin story for a super hero or a super villain, which is kind of cool. (Oh, and it goes almost without saying that a comic about an African-American girl who’s a super-techno-genius on a par with Iron Man is a genuinely good thing and a great stride for representation at Marvel. Almost, but not quite.)
And yes, it’s got Devil Dinosaur. If there’s ever a bad time to put a red pseudo-T. Rex who kicks butt into your comic, I cannot think of it. Would ‘The Kindly Ones’ have been a better comic with Devil Dinosaur? I have to say that on balance, the answer is “yes”. ‘Age of Bronze’? Oh heck yeah. I’m even willing to entertain the notion that ‘Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur’ would be better if they put in a second Devil Dinosaur, perhaps through time-travel shenanigans. The point is, he’s not what’s wrong with the comic.
And the art is charming. It’s cartoony enough to be vivid and larger than life, while really evocative and filled with a solid design sense. Every page is pretty enough to frame.
No, I think the problem with the series to date is the pacing. This may just be my hobby-horse; Lord knows I’ve complained about “decompression” enough times that some people probably have my rants memorized. But really, very little has happened in three issues. Devil Dinosaur has come to the present, so have some evil ape-people, and…yeah, that’s pretty much it apart from capture-escape rigmarole. The central premise has been restated two or three times an issue (Lunella needs the thingie that the ape-people worship and that popped them to the present because she thinks it’s a cure for her incipient Inhumanism) which is bad whether it’s being written for the trade or not. And Lunella has only started to bond with Devil Dinosaur, which is frustratingly bad pacing because we all know it’s the premise of the series so dragging it out is really pointless.
So I’m giving it an issue #4, because there’s a lot to like about it and I want to support the things that are good about it. But it would be nice if it didn’t feel quite so much like it was treading water.