Shade the Changing Woman #5 – Cecil Castellucci, Writer; Marley Zarcone, Jamie Coe, Artists; Ande Parks, Inker; Kelly Fitzpatrick, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The penultimate issue of Cecil Castellucci’s mind-bending sci-fi teen drama takes the story in a darker direction, as Loma Shade returns to Earth just as a new and deadlier threat emerges. The opening pages, as she grapples with the deliberate loss of her heart, call back to the unique story told with the character and her multiple selves in the Milk Wars crossover with Wonder Woman, and connects her with all the characters she’s touched in her time on Earth for good and bad. The cast of characters is split heavily this issue, and one of my favorite segments had to be the octopus-like Lepuck, who is currently incarcerated in an aquarium with a band of clever octopi, making a daring escape and finding an ally in the alien-friendly River. However, as Loma’s mental state continues to deteriorate, it’s not clear if he’s going to get to her in time to help her, or if the alien invasion that’s coming will win. That invasion, led by the
Machiavellian Mrs. Deeps, is getting closer as she gaslights her allies in the military.
Of course, lurking in the background of this issue is the man who preceded Loma in the madness vest, and encouraged her down the questionable path she took in this miniseries – Rac Shade. She’s finally started to realize that he doesn’t have her best interests at heart, and he’s becoming more and more obsessed with getting his hands on the madness vest. While Loma is busy dealing with Rac, leading to a genuinely horrific last-page reveal, River and Lepuck are trying to stay one step ahead of River’s former bosses, and Teacup finds herself running from the deranged Megan, who has gone from a generic mean girl to a particularly twisted villain. I struggle to see how Castellucci is going to wrap this all up in only one more issue, but it’s been a hell of a ride so far. The backup, a little interlude with River and Lepuck, is a lot of fun but I’m a bit confused why it was set apart from the rest of the story, when it fits in pretty seamlessly into the main narrative.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.