This week, the most recent limited series starring Lunella Lafayette concludes. Here on the Rundown, we’ve been covering the book since its first issue, including a roundtable on the second issue. So how does the all-too-soon conclusion measure up? This review contains spoilers, but scroll down to the Rundown if you’re looking for spoiler-lite blurbs on Avengers: Omega and Hallow’s Eve #2.
What did you think of this week’s fresh Marvel Comics releases? The Beat is waiting to hear from you! Give us a shout-out right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat. Excelsior, True Believers!
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5
Writer: Jordan Ifueko
Penciler: Alba Glez
Inker: José Marzan Jr.
Color Artist: KJ Díaz
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover by: Ken Lashley & Rain Beredo
The conclusive issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur brings the story arc to a satisfying close. Over the course of the five-issue miniseries, Lunella has had a character arc that helped her understand the value of friendship – an important development for the genius inventor, who has often been alienated from her peers (even when she isn’t brain-swapping with her Tyrannosaur). The plot of this arc has been interesting and the thematic concerns explored are even more fascinating still.
Nevertheless, this standout title is concluding after just five issues. This is disappointing.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
This run of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is filled with meaty Marvel superhero action. This includes important elements like the supporting cast, a fixture in some of my favorite runs.
Just one of many possible examples comes from another lunar-themed hero, Moon Knight. In the earlier appearances and runs featuring Moon Knight, characters like Betrand Crawley and Gene Landers played significant supporting roles. Another example might be Deadpool’s supporting cast on his earlier runs, like Weasel and Blind Al.
In these five issues of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Lunella gets a compelling supporting cast all her own. These characters especially get to shine in issue four, which sees Moon Girl facing the necessity of support from her peers. However, there is only so much real estate in five issues, and while this run may take great advantage of what space it is allotted, it’s a shame we don’t get to see this narrative continue into additional arcs – which is where these supporting characters (and other details about Lunella herself) would get more time to be expanded and explored.
With a run as good as this one, that’s something between a tragedy and a travesty.
So what’s the deal? Why is this series ending after its first arc? Is it true that male readers will take one look at a 22-page comic starring or created by a woman and instinctively say, “Never,” rather than reading it? If a character is marketable enough to be featured in multiple seasons of an animated Disney series, are they really not marketable enough to carry an ongoing solo title?
Before someone predictable says “Marvel just doesn’t do ongoing titles anymore,” let me point out that they do, actually. These books are almost also helmed by men, and frequently, those men deemed to possess the credentials worthy to write such “important” titles also have other ongoing titles they’re working on, often at multiple publishers.
Predictably, stretching creators so far (no matter what their gender) means that they simply cannot put as much time and energy into any individual issue as they might with a more manageable schedule. This causes all of the titles they are simultaneously working on to become progressively thinner, and more often than not, all same-y.
In this sense, the limited allocation of opportunity regarding who gets to work on the ongoing “headlining” titles doesn’t just do a disservice to those of who belong to the excluded demographics. It’s also doing a disservice to the male creators who surely cannot turn down the proffered opportunities, but who also do not possess enough hours in the day to execute all of them to the best of their abilities.
Note that I cannot fault those men who are in such creative positions. Instead, those responsible for selecting and assigning creative teams should consider that a more diverse roster of creators across a wide spectrum of books will not only appeal to a broader swath of readers, it would also permit those who currently have too much work on their plate to write well to do a better job on one title.
Back from the Dead?
While this may be the conclusion of this all-too-short run, there’s always hope for more Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. With a second season of the excellent animated Disney+ series on the way, the potential readership for such a title will only grow.
Hopefully, a new title will be sooner rather than later. And while another miniseries would be less desirable than an ongoing – yes, Virginia, they do still exist at Marvel Comics – a limited run would be preferable to a series of one-shot team-ups, which can prove really hard for the initiated to follow along with, much less new readers.
Whenever the next incarnation of Moon Girl arrives, it would be pleasing to see this creative team return to the title. From the art to the writing to the colors to the lettering, this series was firing on all cylinders throughout. Fans of the TV series will be looking for a place to start with Moon Girl, and the trade paperback collecting this run is an ideal point of ingress.
Verdict: Write your congressperson and tell them you want more Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
- Avengers Assemble Omega #1
- Writer Jason Aaron’s six-year run on the Avengers concludes with this epic Endgame style ending with the fate of the Multiverse on the line. Aaron’s run will probably be considered one of the quirkiest runs in the Avengers history, battling a Multiversal Masters of Evil team led by an Ultimate Dr. Doom, almost being erased by Mephisto, becoming a haven for both the newest Star Brand and Phoenix force, learning of alternate versions of the Avengers, and my favorite, living in a dead Celestial. And this is why we love comics. His artistic partners in crime for this last issue include the team of Aaron Kuder, Dexter Vines, Ivan Fiorelli, Javier Garrón, Jim Towe, and Alex Sinclair. While filled with over-the-top cosmic significance, the strength of this book is the individual moments that the Avengers have as the cosmos comes crashing down on them and them doing that thing that makes them the Heroes we love. As an individual read, this will be hard for casual readers, this book is for the diehard reader who has been following the Avengers for this run. If you’re looking for a legendary no-holds-barred run Avengers Assemble will fill that slot. — GC3
- Hallow’s Eve #2
- I know this might be a book designed specifically for me (some of my first Spidey comics were the Clone Saga and I love J.M. DeMatteis’ work from that period), but this is genuinely an interesting look into the world of Janine Godbe, a hugely underutilized character, reinvented for the present day. Erica Schultz writes a well-rounded, if flawed, protagonist, one who has her own sense of agency. There’s a big part of Janine that’s motivated by the disappearance of Ben Reilly, and while I’m not the biggest fan of that, as we move forward, it does feel like she’s beginning to have wants of her own that aren’t defined by him (plus, she’s not inherently evil as he is now). I love how detailed and expressive Michael Dowling’s characters are. He utilizes shadows in a way that gives a tremendous amount of depth to the figures and the world they inhabit, and I’m surprised how little I’ve heard comics people talk about his abilities. Paired with Brian Reber on colors, these pages pop, with characters that balance bright colors with moodiness extremely well. I do have to say, much of this won’t make sense for anyone who didn’t read the Beyond era of ASM, but if you’re looking for a compelling story of a woman striking out on her own, I’d definitely take a stab at Hallow’s Eve. — CB
Next week: Deadpool #6, Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #3, and Thor #33 arrive! Catch up with past entries in the Marvel Rundown archive.
The Marvel Rundown is edited by Avery Kaplan.
As a loooooong time Avengers fan (began reading back in the mid-1980s) who has amassed a decent collection of the various iterations/minis/special projects, I’m currenlty planning for this issue to be my last. NOT because I haven’t enjoyed Aaron’s run, but because it just feels like a capstone to me of 60 years of stories. When you read comics for so long things can sometimes seem repetative. The team forms, it fights evil, it breaks up, rinse, repeat. That’s kinda been the arc the Avengers has been on for decades. When Hickman took over, I had actually thought I might jump off AFTER that because how can you go bigger than basically having The Avengers participate in Marvel’s version of Crisis on Infinite Earths. But frankly Hickman’s book was kinda grim. Spoilers……..
The Avengers fought each other and failed. So I held on through Mark Waid’s enjoyable but slight-feeling run. Then Aaron came along. Hadn’t read any of his prior work but heard good things. This run isn’t perfect. But he has taken so many great things about The Avengers and Marvel in general and turned it into this massive celebration. The core Avengers, Blade, Black Widow, Namor, Starbrand, the Squadron Supreme, Man Thing, the Celestials, Galactus, Moon Knight, Deathlock, Kazar, Doctor Doom, Mephisto, The Masters of Evil, multiversal Avengers and on and on and on and on!!!! And what’s been so great is that, or the most part, he was LEFT ALONE TO TELL HIS STORY. We didn’t get two or three or four other Avengers titles that had to be read (yeah, Aaron launched Avengers Forever about a year ago but for the most part he stuck with telling monthly stories). It just to me feels like the last 60 years have been leading up to this kind of mic drop moment. And yes, there have been grim/dark aspects of Aaron’s work, but there is this overarching heroic/fun vibe to it. So I just feel like, for me personally, if the Avengers is one 60 year long story, this is a fantastic place to wrap it up.
Reading it reminded me of my childhood. Together with friends destroy the city I live in.
I didn’t enjoy Jordan Ifueko’s run of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur at all and personally believe it’s insulting that marvel couldn’t atleast hire an actual experienced comic book writer for this run instead of a novelist. I don’t hate Jordan but her writing for Lunella in this run felt completely like she didn’t actually read the original 47 issue run or she did read it but for some reason thinks it was a good idea to portray Lunella as someone that doesn’t understand the value of friendship, does stupid stuff like attempting to sneak into Olivia’s HQ with nothing besides a bonnet or somehow has trauma despite such a thing never being mentioned before and it doesn’t help that Jordan completely dropped the trauma stuff after issue 2.
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