Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman Special #1 – Cecil Castellucci, Magdalene Visaggio, Writers; Mirka Andolfo, Sonny Liew, Artists; Marissa Louise, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Seriously Creepy
Ray: Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman Special #1 is easily the most compelling and disturbing one-shot of the “Milk Wars” event so far. Cecil Castellucci’s story is ia gonzo combination of The Stepford Wives with…Pixar’s Inside Out?
In the aftermath of the events of the Doom Patrol/Justice League special, Wonder Woman is now Wonder Wife, a perfect spouse who only lives to make her husband Steve happy and make sure her children are well-fed. She seems blissfully happy in this strange world, living in a place called the Hall of Moms and taking baths in milk while she’s attended to by her handmaidens – who are all Loma Shade, and each represents a different facet of her personality. The primary personality is Haps, whose job is supposed to be to keep Wonder Wife happy at all times but is starting to peel back the idyllic environment and find disturbing secrets at the fringes.
Clearly, there’s a lot of social subtext here, and seeing Wonder Woman essentially stripped of her initiative and brainwashed like this is disturbing. But what’s especially interesting is the way Castellucci and Andolfo use the environment to enhance the story. It’s almost like a haunted house cast in marble and light, and the fact that Cave Carson’s cybernetic eye is skittering around like a spider, trying to make people aware of the secrets of the place, is a great added touch. As Haps’ breakdown earns the ire of her boss and puts her and her other personalities in danger, the tension is through the roof and it becomes the best chapter of the event yet.
Much like last week’s Mother Panic/Batman team-up, this issue views the MacGuffin of “Milk” as a mind-altering substance, and is exploring the horror elements of the story rather than leaning into the surreality like the first chapter did. Each of these issues so far has felt like the main book, which is a double-edged sword – but it’s the most effective here.
Corrina: Creepy and effective is an accurate description of this book and, yet, it feels extra creepy for me because of the frequent use of near-nudity for Wonder Wife. (I noticed in the previews DC sent, it did not include those pages, so one wonders if they considered them more than PG-rated?) Batman doesn’t get to be nude and he wasn’t put into a sexual situation in this crossover but Wonder Woman is.
So my question is: does the story slide into over-doing the subservient female until it becomes the thing it’s trying to be against by veering into overuse of the male gaze?
It definitely went over the line for me. Other readers will have to judge for themselves.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.