Lunella Lafayette, better known to Marvel fans as the 9-year-old child genius Moon Girl, has been named by the comic books company as the smartest character in its universe. That means Moon Girl is smarter than Tony Stark, former top brain Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, and even Dr. Doom.
Since Marvel’s recent push for diversity in its comic ranks, the news of Lafayette’s rise in prominence shouldn’t come to a surprise for many fans. The company explains that the young girl is part human, part Inhuman, which means she’s stronger and smarter than the average person. So smart in fact, students at the Lower East Side Manhattan school she attends ridiculed her for being a big daydreamer hence the hero’s name.
Palling around with a Tyranasouras Rex known as Devil Dinosaur, the adventures of the pair lead them to fantastic battles with the alien Race, the Kree, and Amadeus Cho, better known as the Incredible Hulk’s latest host.
The announcement of Lunella’s status was made, somewhat off-handedly, in SDCC’s Women of Marvel panel by Marvel’s Director of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, who may be best known as one of the co-creators of the current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, the character that may have been the flashpoint for Marvel’s aggressive diversity push.
“Moon Girl will discover she’s the smartest person in the Marvel Universe at only 9 years old,” said Amanat Sunday, referring to an upcoming story in the planned relaunch of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur as part of “Marvel NOW!”
Interestingly and importantly, Lunella isn’t just the smartest person in the Marvel Universe, she’s also black and female – two characteristics not typical for the Marvel’s usual cast of super-geniuses. Female scientific super-geniuses are rare for either of the two major comic book publishers, relatively even more so, in fact, than black super-geniuses. The role has been historically filled by males, a product of both major publishers’ superhero lines’ birth in the late 30s and early 60s, respectively.
That’s pretty fresh.
Naturally, there’s been chatter on social media about the announcement both positive and negative. We’ve collected some of the reaction on Twitter via the #MoonGirl hashtag. Following the conversation and add your own perspective. And people, chill out. There’s room enough at Marvel for two Black girl geniuses.