There are dozens of superior intellects floating around the Marvel Universe. Dr. Doom, Shuri, Reed Richards, Hank Pym, Tony Stark, Amadeus Cho, Charles Xavier, Bruce Banner, and Riri Williams all come to mind, but who’s the smartest? It might surprise you, but it’s actually a nine-year-old from Manhattan by the name of Lunella Lafayette, a.k.a. Moon Girl.
If you’ve been a Marvel Comics fan for a long time, you may have heard of Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur, a prehistoric hominid and his pet T-Rex from the 1970s. Created by Jack Kirby after his return to Marvel from DC, the book lasted nine issues starting in 1978. While Lunella Lafayette has no direct relation to Moon Boy, creators Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos used the lore of Kirby’s miniseries to inspire their run of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
Introduced in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1, Lunella Lafayette was halfway through 4th grade at Public School 20 Anna Silver on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when she first met her archosaur BFF. By that time, even at 9 years old, Lunella was already obsessed with figuring out the superpowered world around her, starting with her latent Inhuman genes. Toiling away in an underground lab, Lunella has utilized advanced tech from across the Marvel Universe, including Doombots, H.E.R.B.I.E, Cerebro, and a Kree Omni-Wave Projector, which ends up transporting Devil Dinosaur into the present day.
A talented hacker and engineer as well, Moon Girl uses her superior intellect to craft inventions like her moon boots, the sneeze powder gun, and her translation helmet. Lunella is even declared the smartest person in the world after solving the Banner Box, a test created by part-time Hulk, Bruce Banner. This week Lunella and Devil are set to make their entry into the ever-expanding MCU with a debut on Disney Plus. Launching on Feb. 10 on Disney, Moon Girl, and Devil Dinosaur focuses on a slightly older version of Lunella than we first meet in the comic books. Now 13, she’s settling into navigating school, running a secret lab and being a responsible teenager in New York, all while having a superpowered, 10-ton dinosaur as a pet.
As the duo works together to protect the city’s Lower East Side from danger, Lunella tackles the daily challenges of being a high schooler. The series stars Diamond White as Lunella/Moon Girl and executive produced by Laurence Fishburne, who stars in the recurring role of The Beyonder, an otherworldly trickster. To get you caught up on everything Moon Girl, Paste has assembled a reading guide for Lunella Lafayette and her towering tyrannosaur, Devil Dinosaur.
When Jack Kirby returned to Marvel Comics in the mid-1970s, he returned to titles like Captain America and Black Panther, but he also created several new series including Eternals, Machine Man, and Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur.
The latter Kirby story is set in the long-forgotten Valley of the Flame where tribes of the first men have settled. Dubbed New Folk, they are split into tribes including the Small Folk, Hill Folk, and evil Killer Folk. Joining forces, Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur face off against monsters, strange sauropods, aliens, and even travel to 1970s New York.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur: BFF
Writer and artist Amy Reeder, along with writer Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos created Moon Girl in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF in 2015, when the Marvel Universe was being inundated with Terrigen Mists, a mutagen able to alter Inhuman biology. Around this time, massive clouds of Terrigen were floating around the world causing unwitting people to develop powers in books like the Avengers, Ms. Marvel and Infinity.
Deathly afraid of changing, Lunella does everything in her power, including using alien tech, to avoid the mists. When one of Lunella’s experiments creates a time portal, the vicious Killer Folk along with Devil Dinosaur are released into modern-day New York.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur: Cosmic Cooties
Things get hectic when, despite her best efforts, Moon Girl is hit by a Terrigen cloud, which gives her powers she may not know how to deal with in Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 2: Cosmic Cooties.
In addition, a young Kree upstart travels to Earth to find out more about Lunella, who could be a threat to the interstellar race of warriors. Plus, how do you hide a massive dinosaur from your parents and friends?
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: Yancy Street Legends
Peter Parker and Lunella Lafayette technically have a lot in common. They’re both New Yorkers, they’re both incredibly smart and they’re both a bit awkward.
In addition to teaming up with Spider-Man, Moon Girl also joins up with Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, and Life-Bringer Galactus in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol 8.: Yancy Street Legends to take on a pesky Super Skrull and his larger-than-life boss. There’s also time traveling, the War of the Realms, and a face-off against Reed Richards to be seen.
Bonus: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Team-Ups
In her short time as part of the Marvel Universe, Moon Girl has made a ton of appearances across a variety of comic titles. In addition to having some great stories in Marvel Voices and the follow-up Marvel Voices: Legacy, Lunella has also aligned with the Secret Warriors, Venom, Gwenpool, the Avengers and America the Champions, Squirrel Girl and America Chavez.
Last year, Marvel also released a series of Moon Girl one-shot team-ups including Miles Morales & Moon Girl #1, Avengers & Moon Girl #1, and X-Men & Moon Girl #1.
Dana Forsythe is based in Boston and is a longtime reporter covering art, comic books and culture.