“My brain is all the super-power I need.”
Of all the dialogue found on the 24 pages contained within Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1, this was easily one of the more impressive and impactful quotes delivered.
It’s said by Lunella Lafayette, a young preteen girl whose impressive intellect makes her an outsider who struggles to find acceptance from her fellow middle school students.
Lunella is stuck. She’s a brilliant inventor obsessed with science and the natural world. So much so that she has a difficult time relating to her peers and struggles to take interest in a school whose curriculum doesn’t begin to challenge her intellect.
We see this in the opening scenes of the book, where Lunella quickly refutes the teacher’s lesson on the Theory of Evolution by citing scientific opinion on the proof of evolution. Not only is this moment brilliant, but it highlights so much about Lunella’s attitude toward her situation in a mere handful of panels.
And therein we find the slightly veiled, but no less damning indictment of the state of education today. As a brilliant young mind fueled by the excitement of learning and discovery. Lunella fails and flat-out refuses to conform to an education system that encourages mediocrity.
Lunella is a tinkerer. Throughout the first issue, we see a handful of her inspired inventions, roller skate shoes and a seeming Kree energy detector being the most prominent. Especially her Kree detector, Lunella plans to answer New York City’s problem—although, we’re not quite sure exactly what that problem is.
She takes the detector out one fateful night and discovers a mystical item known as the Nightstone. Just as she begins to examine it, Lunella is harangued yet again by her fellow classmates, whose careless actions cause the Nightstone to summon prehistoric creatures into the modern day—along with Devil Dinosaur himself.
I love the direction this series is taking. I love seeing a young, brilliant female person of colour criticizing her classmates for frivolous interests while hungrily seeking more and more knowledge. I love the feel of the book, which combines elements of Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron and the 1993 film We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story into a light-hearted, upbeat tale of two beings whose commonality is merely that they don’t belong in their respective worlds.
Lunella is an especially compelling character. To see someone so young being empowered by knowledge and a sincere desire to learn is not only uplifting, but it immediately makes her a sympathetic type who is easy to cheer for.
Exactly where the current arc is heading remains mostly a mystery, but Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is off to a very strong start.