Aww man. Comics Roundup #32 features two comics that were disappointments for me. I really thought I would love them both, but they left me feeling bored. The upside, though, is that I really love the art and characters in one of them, which made me enjoy it a little.
I read both of these for the NEWTs Magical Readathon.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder, illus. by Natacha Bustos with colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, volume 1
This is the first volume of a comic book based in the Marvel universe. It’s about Lunella Lafayette, a preteen genius who’s bored at school because she’s preoccupied with worrying about her latent inhuman gene. She befriends a dinosaur who was sent through time to protect an orb that Lunella calls an Omni-Wave Projector from prehistoric savages. The two get up to crazy shenanigans to get and protect the orb all while wreaking havoc on the city in their attempts to do so. (Goodreads)
Can you tell that I was mightily bored by this book and don’t give two shits about it? If not, well, I was. I was so disappointed because I really wanted to like this story. I picked it up because the protagonist is Black and I wanted to own and read a fun, fantastic comic book about a Black main character. But this one didn’t pay off. I was BORED the entire time.
The premise makes it sound fun. I knew it was part of the Marvel-verse when I picked it up but that wasn’t appealing to me because I don’t care much for superhero comics. I just wanted to know what this genius girl and her dinosaur would get up to. There was potential for the story to be appealing and for Lunella’s clumsiness to endear her to readers, but that didn’t work out. I don’t think Lunella was fleshed out enough to make her appealing and there were so many explanations in the storytelling that it became boring. I also didn’t care for the prehistoric savages. It all just came off as silly and boring. I almost DNF’ed it. And the Hulk?! Ugh! Rolled my eyes at him.
This was the only thing I liked and the reason for the 1 star this comic book received. I like how dynamic and impressive the illustrations are. Bustos does a great job with it, especially with the action scenes. And the colors work well with the illustrations too. They are bright and definitely eye-catching.
My favorite illustrations are of Devil Dinosaur. He overpowers whatever scene he’s in, and his robust red color immediately drags the eye to his figure. I also like the stances of the prehistoric savages. They make me think that they are about to start break-dancing.
My problem with the art is that the size of Devil Dinosaur is inconsistent. Sometimes he seems immense but other times he’s not so impressive in size. And I thought it was weird that Lunella was able to fit and hide him (a big-ass T-rex) in the basement of her school. How is this possible? Did he shrink?
That’s for the art. It’s the only thing I liked.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
Moonstruck, volume 1
In the little college town of Blitheton, fantasy creatures live cozy, normal lives right alongside humans, and werewolf barista Julie strives to be the most normal of all. But all heck breaks loose when she and her new girlfriend Selena go on a disastrous first date that ends with a magician casting a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late! (Goodreads)
This comic book is so cute! I love the art so much! But first, let’s discuss the story. It wasn’t at all what I expected. After reading The Tea Dragon Society, I somehow convinced myself that this would be like it although the two are unrelated. Although they are different, I was genuinely interested in this story and wanted to enjoy it more than I did. However, much as I love certain characters and the art, this story didn’t work for me.
Here’s what I liked about it: The story is sweet and I like that it places high value on friendship. There is positive and diverse LGBT representation and even diverse races represented. I loved the mixture of personalities and how they play off each other as well as how the supernatural creatures interact. I didn’t expect someone human to be in the story either. (I didn’t read the synopsis on the back before starting.)
The story has its fun moments. For me, all of them include Chet, the centaur, my favorite character. He’s so dramatic sometimes, but I just love his personality. Oh! And there’s the “Ask a Know-It-All” advice column. It’s hilarious! I loved that too. My favorite is the one with Stella Brennan, a.k.a. “Screamin’ Stella Sluagh,” from the Evil Gal Supper Group. That cracked me up a bit.
Unfortunately, the story has its downside. Although it kept my interest at first, around the middle it started to lose me. There was also an abrupt turn in Selena. She went from being nice to Julie to abruptly being rude and I couldn’t tell if it was because of the stress of the situation or something else. I also think the plot could use more development because by the end I felt as if something was missing but I couldn’t tell what. It felt unfulfilled. I think it’s the fight between Julie and Selena that threw me off. It’s just too abrupt.
I love the art. I’m sold on the art. It’s so cute. I love the illustrations and the colors used. The cover is what made me purchase it, and I was glad that the illustration style on the cover continues on the pages because often the cover illustration style is different from what’s on the page, mostly because the artist is different.
Shae Beagle is the illustrator of the main story. I was able to meet Beagle recently at the Small Press Expo and share how much I love Chet. I love their style and will most likely pick up whatever else they draw.
Kate Leth illustrates a comic that appears within Moonstruck that Julie and Selena enjoy reading. I didn’t care much for that story or the artwork, but I don’t think it was meant for us to.
The story is okay. There were some things I liked and others I didn’t, but the artwork is worth checking out.