‘Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 4: Girl-Moon’ is Saturday morning cartoon fun.
I was a big fan of the last volume of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur due to its all-ages approach to adventure storytelling. Volume 4 drops this week in comic stores and offers a five part adventure in time and space that ends with a major change to Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur’s relationship.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Journey to the Living Planet! It’s Lunella Lafayette’s biggest adventure yet, as a voice from the outer reaches of space beckons her and Devil Dinosaur on a truly fantastic voyage – an Ego trip, if you will! Are you ready for Moon Girl to meet…Girl-Moon? Lunella isn’t just smart, she’s the smartest person on Earth – but what good is that when the problems she faces are intergalactic? And when our incredible duo makes it back to Earth, they might find things a little different than how they remember. What happened to Yancy Street? And who exactly are Devil Girl and Moon Dinosaur?! The story of a young genius and her T. rex pal gets wilder than ever!
Can I jump in easily?
Relatively. The book opens with some passersby reflecting on what Moon Girl has done for those who live on Yancy Street, but none of that really matters since this story sends Moon Girl into the cosmos. This is a space adventure that has her and Devil Dinosaur hopping through time and multiple locations and each chapter is easy to jump in and out of in themselves.
Reason 1: A new adventure in every chapter!
Even planets can be grouchy kids.
This volume consists of six issues, but each issue has a different type of problem to solve and even takes place in a different location. This volume starts off with Moon Girl hearing voices in outer space, which forces her to make a ship to help the stranded person. The ship she creates to get there ends up being able to jump through dimensions and after this first chapter she’s hopping around to meet alternate selves as well as sentient moons. The last chapter in this volume also has her teaming up with a variety of characters, which gives the final story a nice alternate feel from the rest of the book. Basically put, Brian Montclare and Natacha Bustos mix things up nicely throughout the volume. The b-plot of Moon Girl’s Doom-bot head managing the Moon Girl robots is also highly entertaining and adds a nice comedic element to the book.
Reason 2: Visually, it’s a cartoon.
Natacha Bustos draws in a cartoony style which is aided by Tamra Bonvillain’s colors. The wholesome Saturday morning cartoon vibe is also bolstered by the layouts, which tend to use three to five panels per page. It gives the book a slower, more controlled pace with very little in the way of chaos or hard to understand layout designs. The look of the book also suits the giant red dinosaur, which I imagine could look rather ridiculous if rendered in a hyper realistic style. There’s an endearing quality to the art via the character design too.
Reason 3: The lessons learned are simple and relatable.
Moon Girl’s first mission has her helping a sentient moon who is lonely. Later she must communicate with an obnoxiously stubborn version of herself that makes her think maybe she shouldn’t be such a jerk. A prominent element in this volume is feeling left out or that you don’t belong. Little kids and teenagers alike will relate to this troublesome issue and it suits the coming of age story Moon Girl is on. From Devil Dinosaur not really belonging in New York to Moon Girl’s robots wanting to fit in, the theme pops up throughout.
Moon Girl’s Doom-bot adds some fun humor in the b-plot.
Reasons to be wary?
It’s fun to see Moon Girl team up with the X-Babies, Daredevil, and Ghost Rider in the closing chapter, but it does scream “filler issue” to be sure. How often can Devil Dinosaur not be her teammate when it has “Devil Dinosaur” in the title? I mean really! It’s a fun idea, but reads more like backup style stories rather than a full issue’s focus.
Is there a rationale to the reasons?
I really dig this series as it’s all-ages fun and captures the adventure style of comics very well. If you dig space and cosmic Marvel you’ll love it.