REVIEW: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #11 – “Kid Kree Blues”

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MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #11
Writers: Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder
Penciller: Natacha Bustos
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 9/28/16

Kid Kree tracked Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur back to their secret lab, but Lunella has friends in high places that help her out of it. The only problem is she doesn’t know how willing those friends are to help her.

Plot: Not believing Mel-Varr’s claim that he has valuable information, Lunella calls in Ms. Marvel for reinforcement. Unfortunately she suffers yet another untimely body-switch with Devil Dinosaur which wreaks more than a little havoc. Not only that, but Kid Kree’s father is still on the hunt for his son and the young girl he chooses to believe is holding him hostage. Who can Lunella count on when she can’t even count on herself?

Story: Lunella’s mistrust of  Mel-Varr is understandable, seeing as he’s not only a Kree but also tried to kidnap her.  Even more sympathetic, though, is her starstruck desire to be Ms. Marvel’s friend and anxiety about the super heroine’s potential reaction. It’s moments like these that make Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur incredibly relatable, which of course makes Lunella’s sudden switch with her dinosaur friend all the more embarrassing.

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While this is not a story about Kamala Khan, it’s nice to see such a caring and patient side of her in this story. Of course, anyone who reads Ms. Marvel knows she has a heart of gold, but in her own title she’s often too stressed out or overloaded with drama to get the chance to mentor anyone. The way she looked out for Lunella this issue was as much a testament to her humanity as it was a reminder that Lunella’s view of herself is not the same as others’ views of her. She was convinced that her heroine would think her a “lame nerd,” but instead Kamala worries for her even when there’s actually a dinosaur inside her instead of a little girl.

The disconnect between her thoughts and reality is a heartbreaking through-line this week. Not only is Lunella justifiably finding it hard to trust Devil Dinosaur while growing closer to someone she doesn’t know could hurt her, she also misses out on an uplifting message from Kamala due to unfortunate circumstances. Once again, the frustration of not being able to set things right for Lunella is both overwhelming and very realistic. “Marvin’s” visit to her home is a heartwarming change of pace in the issue, but it’s once again built on dramatic irony that leaves the reader waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Lest this sound like a criticism, it’s absolutely not. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has done a wonderful job of playing with expectations and exploring how nuanced different perspectives can be. Despite Kid Kree’s limited introduction, Brandon Montcare and Amy Reeder flesh him out while still leaving his motivations cloudy. Their deft handling of such a contradictory character makes the final page’s reveal both shocking and completely obvious in the best way.

Art: Tamra Bonvillain’s color palette stands out with a rich array of blues and greens melding with the reds, which feel like they are colliding much more smoothly than Lunella’s recent Inhuman experience is clashing with Mel-Varr’s Kree intentions. Both artists do a great job of creating an innocent atmosphere even when the material is heavier than what a child should be dealing with. Furthermore, there are comedic moments that stand out primarily thanks to Natacha Bustos’ skill.

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No matter the setting, the art in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur jumps off the page. The thick lines fit perfectly with the youth of the most important characters, and rich colors draw readers is. It’s very easy to feel oneself a part of Lunella’s world, whether she’s chasing after Devil Dinosaur or arguing with Marvin. Each issue, but especially this one, is filled with close-ups of the characters reveal more of their emotions than the dialogue can provide. Even our favorite dinosaur shines in silent panels, and the fact that Lunella-inside-Devil-Dinosaur is visually different from the reptile alone shows how versatile the artwork is.

Verdict: This issue raises more questions as the series starts to escalate the tension, and it’s certainly going to be interesting when the thus-far personal crisis becomes more global in scale. No matter how the conflict between Lunella and the Kree turn out, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has created a world worth reading about every month.

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