Devil Dinosaur is back home, and Moon Girl needs a new partner (or partners): who you gonna call?
No, this isn't a Ghostbusters crossover, it is the latest issue of Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos' Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. This month's #24 began exploring Lunella's search with devil-themed heroes like Daredevil and Ghost Rider and ending up with the likes of Mojo and the X-Babies.
Solicitations for November's Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #25 have spoiled who she ends up with - the Human Torch and the Thing - but with the latest issue so fresh Newsarama talked with Montclare about recent events and what's to come.
Newsarama: Brandon, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #24 can be framed as a recruitment drive to find a new partner for Moon Lunella and Devil Dinosaur - of course the solicits for #25 seem to spoil that answer. What's happening in #24?
Brandon Montclare: Moon Girl needs a new partner. So #24 is a fun issue where she tries out a few: Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and Mojo (with the X-Babies, naturally). Honoring "Devil" Dinosaur, I thought it would be fun to have characters with a diabolical connection--at least in name. Moon Girl was convinced she couldn't do worse than a big, red, and clumsy Tyrannosaurus Rex... but I think it's safe to say this is going to be another example of her being proven wrong!
Nrama: Can you explain the situation with Devil Dinosaur?
Montclare: We had a lot of readers crying their eyes out at the end of #23. Moon Girl returned Devil Dinosaur to his original world and timeline in the prehistoric Valley of Flame. She acknowledged that transporting him to our world was a mistake, and she thought she was doing the right thing by putting him back where he belonged.
Nrama: Ghost Rider, Daredevil, X-Babies - maybe it's growing up on Muppet Babies and X-Men, but the last one seems to be particularly fun. What's it like writing these Mojo mutants in this?
Montclare: Longshot by Ann Nocenti and Art Adams is really important to me. I loved it as a little kid. Collecting comics hit me pretty hard. I liked it just because I liked it, but Longshot was also probably the first "new" character to which I was exposed. Sometimes old favorites don't hold up. But I think Longshot was ahead of its time - and maybe still is. A Top 10 all-time Marvel book, if you ask me. That squares away Mojo! The chibi X-Men from the same creative team in those annuals is another favorite... but I think they are everyone’s favorite?
Going forward to November's #25, for "Legacy" Lunella is teaming with the Thing and the Human Torch - and even H.E.R.B.I.E. From the looks of it. How'd this come about?
Montclare: I got to use The Thing in #14 as he revisits Yancy Street--now home to Lunella Lafayette. And it was a lot of fun. More than that: Moon Girl is now the Smartest There Is... which is to say, Smarter Than Reed Richards. So there's a connection there. Also the Devil Dinosaur connection to Jack Kirby.
As for H.E.R.B.I.E. At some point it was a joke made by editor Chris Robinson. Then all of a sudden he showed up on one of Natacha Bustos' covers and I had to work him in. In all seriousness: he's got a layered, in-continuity role in the arc. I can't spoil things! But I'll say H.E.R.B.I.E. was a replacement member of the Fantastic Four. As much as Moon Girl misses Devil Dinosaur, both Human Torch and The Thing are without their proper team. All of this plays out in the arc.
It's two broken families trying to piece together something. And the rich past - now gone - is a big part of the story. Which, I think, plays the "Legacy" angle a tad differently.
Nrama: This is all going on while Ben and Johnny have their own title, Marvel 2-In-One. How are you balancing all of that?
Montclare: I haven't seen anything from the new book yet! There are definitely things I can and can't do with current Fantastic Four continuity. I'm sure some of that is to keep it consistent with not just Marvel 2-in-One, as well as other long-term editorial plans. But for people who want more of the Four, there's at least these two books coming your way.
Nrama: This comes after Silver Surfer comes down o Earth to warn of a coming disaster. When that's happened before it has been a big deal, and I see Galactus looming on the cover of #26. Is he the big threat?
Montclare: It's so much fun to play with Silver Surfer and Galactus. More favorites - with Starlin being another personal favorite, plus the great Ron Marz and Ron Lim stuff. I'll only tease that Galactus is a big threat... but he's now the herald of something even bigger!
Nrama: You and Natacha Bustos have been knocking this series out since late 2015, and I think I can officially say that Moon Girl has eclipsed (ouch, that pun) Moon Boy. What do you think of that and the continued success of the title in such a crowded market?
Montclare: This was one of the challenges with the “Legacy” project. If we picked up the old numbering, we'd have to go back to #10! But the success is amazing. It is simply down to the fans. Established characters are going to ebb and flow - and always stick around. For Moon Girl to be entering her mid-twenties (talking issues here) with no end in sight... that's because Moon Girl fans are supporting the book. And these things take time, so for a while it was Marvel having the shrewd foresight to stick with us.
Nrama: This is the second arc you've done on your own following the departure of Amy Reeder, but the first time we’ve spoken to you. Can you fill us in on what it’s like writing this solo?
Montclare: Reed is a world class talent. I've worked with her a lot - certainly more than I deserve. So we all miss her contributions to the Moon Girl character she co-created. So it's with total respect that I say the process isn't too different for me. One result of being able to work with Reed so closely is the familiarity and creative trust always let us do our own thing. So I'm still doing my own thing on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur... just more of it. And while I don't want to speak for Reed: we've always approached a Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur script as an opportunity to showcase Natacha Bustos' talent. Creatively, it's all about giving her cool storytelling opportunities. So the fact that the artist is always first, perhaps makes changes to the writing process less anxious.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals for the title moving into the third year of the book?
Montclare: I think the big picture for Moon Girl started when she was discovered to be the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. That's cool. That's a great narrative tool. But I think it's even more important because we wrote that arc to place Moon Girl in the greater Marvel Universe. She's a discrete character. But she's made stronger by being a part of the world and adventures of the Fantastic Four... and X-Men, Avengers, Daredevil, Dr Strange, S.H.I.E.L.D., Spider-Man, Hulk, and on, and on! I think this “Legacy” arc hits that note again. And, personally, it's always been my chief goal: Make Moon Girl Marvel!