Water is a symbol of change in many cultures, the literally fluid nature of the substance lending itself to that interpretation. So it is more than fitting that water is central to the “birth” of Shade, the Changing Girl. Megan, the girl that Shade has taken over, drowned at the hands of her friends, and in this issue, her feelings about water are at the core of the tale.
Before her death, when not acting like a total bitch, Megan had been the leader of the swimming team at school. Shade has no ability to cope in the water, and suffers some flashbacks to her host body’s death when she tries.
Still, Shade has things pretty good, even if she doesn’t see it that way. Both her old boyfriend, and a new flame, are doing all they can to make her happy, teach her to swim, and reassure her that she is somewhat of a decent person. Her parents and old friends continue to have no clue what is happening to her.
Castelluci also keeps developing the situation on Meta, and the hunt for Shade, keeping that plot thread going. There are some amazing visuals along the way, and a chilling climax in the pool.
I haven’t really mentioned this in previous reviews, but each issue has been ending with a short story featuring relatively obscure old DC characters. This one has a particularly clever Dial H for Hero story appended at the back. I have to admit, as much as I enjoyed the lead story, the Dial H made far more of an impression on me, the limiting choice of letters making the story all the more powerful.