Another excellent issue by Castelluci and Zarcone. Shade, the Changing Girl 12 has some body switching, old friends dealing with betrayal, new friends getting confused, and on top of it all an appearance by Rac Shade himself.
The actual plot of this issue is complicated, moreso because of the hallucinatory nature of the adventure. So I am not really going to bother trying to summarize it, aside from saying that it brings a very strong resolution to the last few issues worth of stories.
Where the real meat in the issue lies is not in the contortions of the plot, but rather in the vastly more complicated internal, emotional contortions the characters put themselves, and each other, through.
In a way this issue highlights the difficulties of such a book. Shade must keep changing. She is billed as “the Changing Girl” after all, and Rac Shade went through some huge shifts in personality in his book. How does one keep a core character clearly the same, while altering so much about her? And more difficult yet, how does one keep readers engaged when so much of the story deals with interpersonal issues.
It requires a writer who can create strong and distinctive, compelling characters whose internal lives are as interesting as their external ones. After a year of stories, it has become very clear that Castelluci is such a writer.
But success in such an endeavour also requires art that can be solid and grounded one minute, then wild and experimental the next, while somehow creating a coherent balance. I am so glad Zarcone is able to do that. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to achieve it, yet she makes it all so graceful and deceptively simple.
With the current issue, I can state without any qualification that Shade, the Changing Girl has become a worthy successor to the great Milligan series.