Once again, Shade, the Changing Woman delivers a really interesting and engaging story, much stronger than the series had been when Loma was just the Changing Girl.
The various subplots have higher stakes now. There is a forthcoming alien invasion, of entities viewed as hostile by those from Meta as well. There is already strong anti-alien sentiment on Earth, and Shade’s friends are caught up in their own personal dramas.
As North America continues to descend into Christian fascism in reality, the messages that this book delivers are both subversive, and vital. I am very glad that the main character is female, and that gender and sexuality are both fluid concepts in this book. These are the people most at risk under the growing darkness in our society, and Shade is a book that can speak to them, or even for them.
And Castelluci has really proven herself as a writer. She is not afraid to take Loma too far at times, prevent her from becoming an idealized hero. She has dark sides, and at times has been as much of a threat as anything else in this book.
There are two back-ups in this issue. Menagerie continues, with Lepuck as the focus, and it’s a clearer story than some of the Menagerie entries have been so far, and also more blatantly tied to the main tale.
But what I really loved was Marley Zarcone’s sketches and comments, on her new design for Shade, as Changing Woman instead of Changing Girl. I can’t draw for the life of me, but I always admire artists, and really enjoy reading their comments on their work, and the choices that they make.
It’s only four issues in, but Shade, the Changing Woman is already a reliable and powerful read.