Shade the Changing Woman #1 – Cecil Castellucci, Writer; Marley Zarcone, Jamie Coe, Artists; Kelly Fitzpatrick, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Shade: The Changing Woman #1, the first of the Young Animal books to get relaunched in the aftermath of Milk Wars (not counting Doom Patrol, which is massively late and hasn’t concluded its first year’s storyline) gets off to a strong start as Loma Shade gets out of the awkward high school years and resets her journey through humanity as an adult. And much like many awkward college-age teens, she’s trying to find herself.
The issue starts with Loma taking a journey through a strange dreamscape where she communes with her predecessor, Rac Shade, as they talk about the nature of humanity and where she’s going next. And it’s apparently one long trip because when she wraps it up, two years have passed. Megan’s friends have graduated without her, never forgetting the strange girl who disappeared, and the people who cared about her on Meta are picking up the pieces – with one picking up a surprising new piece of jewelry.
This sends Loma on a journey of self-discovery, trying to figure out where she belongs now. River, meanwhile, has been distinctly changed by his encounter with Loma and is heading off to college to study extraterrestrial life. The more quiet, human moments of the series were always the strongest, and the scenes were River tries to get back to something resembling normalcy were excellent. That doesn’t last, of course, because Loma’s not far behind, blowing up River’s new life and seeking his help. The issues she’s dealing with are both very human and…not, seeing as she literally doesn’t know how long she has to exist in the new body that’s been created for her. She’s a fascinating character, and this new volume brings in some more overt political elements too. I wish I was as big a fan of the backup, a grotesque story involving a strange bird that looks like it might be from Meta, and a horrible end for a junkie. It didn’t really work, coming off as just strange and gross.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.