This week, our featured review covers Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur (2022) #4! This new run featuring (smartest there is) Lunella Lafayette and (hungriest there is) Devil Dinosaur continues to be an out-and-out banger, so be sure and read the issue first to avoid spoiling the stellar story for yourself. If you do want to avoid SPOILERS, consider scrolling down for a Rapid Rundown review of Captain America: Symbol of Truth #11.

What were your thoughts on this week’s fresh Marvel Comics issues? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat. Excelsior!

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

Writer: Jordan Ifueko
Penciler: Alba Glez
Inker: José Marzan Jr.
Color Artist: KJ Díaz
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Ken Lashley & Rain Beredo
Graphic Designer: Stacie Zuker

The fourth issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2022) continues to bring everything that made the preceding issues worthwhile – plus, it amps up the action and further develops the fascinating story in interesting ways. 

Sad Saks

One of the awesome elements of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #4 is the way that each act of the story is distinct from one another, allowing for multiple levels of story. 

The first act centers on Lunella and her relationship with the two Sad Saks who remain uncompromised by OMG Olivia. In addition to the narrative necessity of obtaining the Prismatic Cobalt and Angel Wire necessary to soup up the M.O.O.N. Bugs, this portion of the story sees Lunella realizing she needs to pay a little bit more attention to her peers – both to be a good leader and to be a good friend.

This portion of the story then follows the trio as they seek out the necessary materials, which leads to encounters with the relatives of each Will and Devinder. Both of these scenes were charming, further develop the supporting cast, and make Lunella realize that her friends are more complicated than she might have at first imagined.

In addition to these essential narrative and character developments, this act also features some very interesting sources for the materials sought by Lunella. By the time this act is over, both Lunella and the reader will have been won over by the Sad Saks and their families.

Rescuing Tasha

The second act follows the trio as they rescue the fourth member of the Sad Saks, Tasha, who has been compromised by the nanotech OMG Olivia appropriated from Moon Girl. This has the effect of forcing Tasha to act like a social media-obsessed lackey to the baby Kree Conqueror who has disguised herself as an influencer. In addition to the mental effects, this has caused Tasha’s hair to be transformed from its normal appearance, instead mimicking Olivia’s blonde locks.

Fortunately, Lunella, Will, and Divinder’s efforts in the first act prove fruitful: after an excellent and innovative sequence that depicts a microscopic battle between the two sets of nanobots respectively created by Olivia and Lunella, Tasha’s hair is restored to its former glory, and her personality is “uncensored.” 

Not only does all this provide for an excellent story on its face, but the thematic territory it explores – from the importance of Tasha’s unapologetically Black hair to the censoring of one’s true self for white-controlled social media, and to the fact that some people will hurt children of color who do not comply with the standards prescribed by the white members of the community – is rich indeed.

OMG Olivia’s Machinations

While this all might seem like enough for a single issue, there’s a whole additional act included, one that follows the four Sad Saks as they infiltrate the factory where Olivia’s drones are creating the Sparkle Straight hair product that contains her sinister nanotech. Along with the destruction of the factory, this sequence also includes another always-welcome allusion to the seminal sci-fi novelist Octavia Butler.

PROTIP: Live for yourself, Olivia, not for the failed & hateful dreams of the previous generation.

Furthermore, the scene also sets up the next issue by establishing that Olivia is planning on attending The Gala, a high-profile event that could see the Kree kid’s influence (and by extension, her brain-controlling hair product) reach global proportions. This creates tension thanks to the concurrent full moon, which will signal Lunella’s monthly brain swap with Devil Dinosaur.

It’s highly likely that Lunella will have to rely on her friends like never before in order to weather the storm – and that will take a huge leap of faith on Moon Girl’s part. Is she up to the challenge? It’s a compelling conflict that will have you clamoring for the next issue of this outstanding run.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur 4

In addition to all this narrative development, this issue also features incredible art. This includes the excellent outfits worn by the cast, as well as marginal flourishes that add to the book’s overall aesthetic. Furthermore, the lettering is solid throughout, but especially stands out when it emphasizes the reactions of OMG Olivia’s brain-controlled supporters.

Ultimately, this issue was so jam-packed full of excellent character work, thematic exploration, and narrative advancement that had to double-check the page count. Incredibly, there are indeed only 22 pages in this outstanding issue – possibly indicating the application of some kind of advanced nanotech to cram all this awesome into one floppy.

CONCLUSION: Pick up this issue (and any of the three preceding ones you may have missed) at your Local Comic Shop and catch up on this out-of-the-world Moon Girl story post-haste. And if you’ve only just come to Moon Girl through the (also excellent) animated series on Disney+: rest assured, this run would be a great jumping-on point if you’re looking to get into the comics!

Rapid Rundown!

  • Captain America: Symbol of Truth #11
    • Writer Tochi Onyebuchi’s Pax Mohannda storyline comes to a head in this nonstop slug fest as Cap goes toe to toe with the evil mastermind behind the Mohannda Civil War, White Wolf. For the past few issues, Sam and his friends have been working to uncover the shadowy hand influencing events around this newly democratic country all leading up to the showdown between the two heavies. Under Onyebuchi’s tenure, Sam has been able to not only be a voice for Onyebuchi but be a fleshed-out hero making a mark in the MCU. It doesn’t hurt that R. B. Silva pencils and Jesus Aburtov colors make Symbol of Truth a gorgeous book to just look at. Silvia’s linework and storytelling are stellarly pumped up by the intense color pallet of Aburtov. Understanding how mainstream comics must reset to the status quo of that character’s world, it is a touch disappointing to see big nuanced ideas that Onyebuchi put out there like Black Americans immigrating to Wakanda getting reset. I want more of what Onyebuchi is selling along with the amazing art team. — GC3

Next week, commemorate Women’s History Month 2023 with Women of Marvel (2023) #1! In the meantime, catch up with past entries in our Marvel Rundown archive.

The Marvel Rundown is edited by Avery Kaplan.