Fall is upon us but while Secret Wars and it’s many tie in’s sit in delay purgatory for the time being, Marvel is once again relaunching it’s superhero line with a whole bunch of #1 issues for their comics. With that said, the publisher is moving from a different position than they were in with Marvel Now & All New Marvel Now. With the former, Marvel had a lot of young creative talent that they were able to re-position during the relaunch to give their line a fresh make over and give creators they had brought up on their lower tier titles a higher profile like Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena, Esad Ribic, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jason Aaron or Rick Remender. After Marvel Now was a success, they added several new talents into their fold by building off the success of the original relaunch, giving creators like Ales Kot, Tradd Moore, Michael Walsh, Felipe Smith or Michel Fiffe their first shot at a major comics launch with the publisher. Now, much of the talent from both those initiatives has moved on from the publisher. In their place, Marvel has new creators coming on from all sorts of different mediums in addition to some of their old standby’s like Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Waid or Greg Land, and they are publishing a lot of comics. Probably too many. Below is a list of all the announced new series categorized into grouping of Yay, Mayhaps or Nah like we did with Secret Wars. Keep in mind that I won’t be including series that are basically the same creative talent and that Marvel will surely have more books to announce in the months ahead.
The creative team behind Image Comics Rocket Girl of Amy Reeder & Brandon Montclare will team with newcomer artist Natacha Bustos for a new series titled Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur based on the Jack Kirby concept. More details at Entertainment Weekly.
While Jack Kirby’s most prolific period as a comics creator was his second stint with Marvel Comics where he created the publishers superhero universe, my favorite Kirby Marvel work has always been from his third stint after returning from his amazing run at DC Comics. That’s because by then, Jack Kirby had shed almost every instinct towards conventional superhero tropes in his new creations, resulting in some of his most creative comics when paired with his Fourth World DC work. Sure Kirby was doing Captain America & Black Panther, but he was creating Machine Man, The Eternals, new stories for Stanley Kubrik’s seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey & perhaps best of all; Devil Dinosaur. We all know Jack Kirby was ahead of his time but what that means continues to evolve. While the creator’s more esoteric comics following his first break up with Stan Lee where never as popular at the time as his Marvel work from his first two stints at the publisher, in hindsight with the proliferation of Image Comics and creator owned work in general, it feels like the 1970’s Jack Kirby would’ve been right at home in this moment. Moreover, as comics move towards being more inclusive, his creations that were focused towards younger readers like Kamandi or Devil Dinosaur would’ve been right at home with the new wave of kid friendly titles like Ms. Marvel, Battling Boy or Gotham Academy. It’s within that context that Marvel has decided to reboot one of those Kirby concepts for 2015 in what is a fun and adorable debut issue of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur.
Writers Amy Reeder & Brandon Montclare of the excellent Image Comics series Rocket Girl kick off the series by introducing Lunella Lafayette aka Moon Girl. Lunella is a hard core science nerd from the Lower East Side (Jack Kirby reference one) more interested in getting into the best science academy’s then playing dodge ball. While she’s ultra smart, as is evident in a hilarious panel where she explains to her teacher how biological evolution is no longer considered theory, her over active mind has a hard time relating to her peers or focusing on more menial tasks like arriving to school on time. One night, while on the hunt for Kree technology leftover from the Inhuman’s terrigen bomb, Lunelle stumble’s across the ancient Nightstone, mistaking it for something alien instead of ancient. Meanwhile, in a time where dinosaurs and proto-humans roam the earth The Valley Of The Flame, Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur drop in to attack the Killer Folk where the pair recover the Nightstone in their pre-historic era. Mayhem ensues in the past, while Lunella’s dopey gym teacher spins the Nightstone in the present, thus creating a time portal where Devil runs rampant on 2015 New York City.
The book is mostly set up and these are tropes that you’ve seen before, but it’s still fun in the way that Reeder & Montclare are able to capture a youthful exuberance in their character while the throwback Valley Of The Flame section is the second explicit Kirby reference in the writing and dialogue style. New artist Natacha Bustos keeps the mood light & sweet with a vibrant and expressive cartoonish visual narrative. Colorist Tamara Bovillain follows the lead with a bright but subtle color tone keeping with the mood and aesthetic.
The debut issue of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur may not have a lot in the way of story, but it makes up for it in it’s zest and humanism. All ages fun worthy of the King.