This article was originally published at Comics Bulletin on April 8, 2016.
Here at Comics Bulletin we’ve had Chase Magnett read through and review the offerings of Marvel’s two biggest franchises The Avengers and The X-Men in week long series. While these two families may have the most history and largest collection of team-based titles at the publisher, there is a new arrival on the scene that isn’t far off. With the announcement of an Inhumans movie from Marvel Studios and the appearance of many Inhumans characters in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the comics branch of the entertainment titan has also begun to push for this third Kirby and Lee created group in their own lineup. This week Chase will be taking a look at all of the most recent Inhumans publications to figure out whether this synergy-oriented publication push is any good outside the boardrooms at Disney.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5
Written by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder
Art by Natacha Bustos
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Travis Lanham
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5 wraps up its first arc just as it began it, by having a whole lot of fun. The goal of “BFF” was to assemble this new team-up with the time displaced Devil Dinosaur and establishing Lunella “Moon Girl” Lafayette. That has been accomplished in fine style; it’s clear who both these characters are and why they’re outsider status makes them a natural duo. Where the series goes from here is anybody’s guess, but it has a strong heart in this pair.
This issue is all about breaking out, Lunella from her parents and school’s rules and Devil Dinosaur from his much more literal cage. It’s a fine way to compare their oddly similar plights of being confined by people who may care, but don’t understand them. The important part of their mutual escapes is finding a connecting thread between the two. Lunella is compelled to run away because of the debt she owes Devil Dinosaur, his sacrifices made giving her a reason to keep going.
Her “Moon Girl” outfit designed by Natacha Bustos is ludicrous in a completely appropriate manner. While there are plenty of gadgets and toys included in the costume, it also reads like something assembled by a ten-year-old from a ten-year-old’s wardrobe. The 80s fashion vibe of bright mismatched clothing worn with absolute confidence just makes her use of the costume all the more fun to witness.
That costume and its various tools don’t do much once she escapes her house though. Her presence might motivate Devil Dinosaur to escape, but she adds nothing to the actual means of escape. Even as she is fleeing she requires Devil Dinosaur’s help. It’s a surprisingly deflating climax in how easily it happens and how the star of the book is gratuitous to the action. Everything that occurs is driven by the big dinosaur rather than the hyper-intelligent young woman that the book constantly assures us is not in over her head. Plot points like this and a detour to a Terrigen Mist exposure make Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5 read like a second draft script.
Some of Bustos’ panels bring a similarly unfinished feel to them. Spring-loaded roller skates curve across a panel with unclear depth or direction. The directionless Terrigen Mist detour features two characters that feel unfinished when compared to Lunella and her family in the sequences that precede it. There’s a rushed feeling to the pages asMoon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5 continues that does the comic no favors as the story shifts from exposition to action.
The unfinished feel to some of the script and artwork doesn’t detract from the consistent feel of fun though. Seeing a young woman confidently aid in a dinosaur’s escape is an idea too much fun to resist and this creative team isn’t throwing up any barriers. Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl are bright characters charging through pages to an uncertain future. It’s an adventure that any young person would be happy to engage with while imagining a dinosaur pal of their own.
Inhuman Touch Wrap Up
If the plan really is for Marvel Studios to launch their Inhumans movie franchise off the back of reinvigorate IP from Marvel Comics, then they’re off to a solid state. Not every book in this batch is a winner, but none are clear losers like those in the current X-Men and Avengers lineups. The team books of All-New and Uncanny Inhumans sit squarely in the middle of the road, but mediocrity isn’t a disaster.
In the meanwhile all of the solo books come with a unique charm. From the ultra violence of Karnak to the silliness of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur to the all-around excellence of Ms. Marvel, these Inhumans titles are standouts in the Marvel lineup. There’s no clear reason for why individual Inhumans may be succeeding where big groups fail, but it’s certainly a good start.