The thing about DC Young Animal’s Shade the Changing Girl is that it’s perfect in its craziness; it captures the madness teenagers go through quite well and I imagine there are girls across the country that can relate to this wild and weird character. We review the latest issue out today with guest artist Marguerite Sauvage joining the fray, but is it good?
Shade the Changing Girl #7 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
In this stand-alone issue, Shade begins to ponder what’s next for her on Earth. As the winter dance approaches, she reminisces about high school on Meta, and starts to wonder why she’s putting herself through that kind of hell again. Will she find the perfect dress, or will the dance be a perfect disaster? Plus, an all-new episode of “Life with Honey.”
Why does this book matter?
Shade is a riveting sort of character drama as it’s chaotic and messy just like teenagers’ lives. With the addition of the guest artist one should expect some spectacular stuff.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Aw, the good old days.
Pegged as a standalone issue, I still found it a bit tricky to read the issue without knowing a few details of the series. It does however, take you to Shade’s upbringing as a child and prior to her coming to Earth, which helps tell a singular story. By intercutting between memories on her home planet and hanging with her friends on Earth, you generally get an understanding of how Shade views the world and why she wants to live on it with all her emotions. Cecil Castellucci writes a good issue in a style one should be accustomed to if you’ve been reading the series so far. It feels untethered and loose in its flow–which might frustrate some–but always seems to be going somewhere. By the end of the issue, a major event happens which thrusts Shade into a new direction she hinted at wanting to do earlier in the issue. That makes the overall package of this issue a satisfying one.
Sauvage’s art blew me away and it’s quite something be it neat details in the background or just how she composes the pages. She’s the perfect artist to show Shade’s homeworld as she makes it feel very organic and strange in its static nature. In a gorgeous double page spread, Sauvage shows Shade planning out a world tour and it’s simplicity is also a strength. It’s very appealing to the eye and clever how everything is laid out (including the fun things she’ll see along the way like kangaroos and dolphins). Later, in a chaotic moment for Shade, Sauvage shows Shade literally melt into a floor and it’s very cool how organic it all looks. Sauvage’s style is one that just looks right no matter the scene due to its natural flow.
In a fun reveal, Castellucci shows us a TV show Shade enjoyed when she was young and her interest in Earth was budding. This show, basically an I Love Lucy black and white comedy, explains a bit about Shade’s interpretation of Earth. As a bonus, Castellucci teams up with illustrator Dan Parent with a fantastic backup showcasing an episode of the show. It’s cooky and shows the rather ridiculous plotting of classic TV shows. Kelly Fitzpatrick colors this one and gives the black and white a subtle tube TV pixelated look throughout that helps make it feel all the more real. The plot in the story is a nice reminder of how classic TV shows told happy stories with improbably happy endings.
Anyone else getting a trippy 70’s vibe from the art?
It can’t be perfect can it?
This isn’t the most accessible of comics even if the story is mostly self contained. It’s in part due to the meandering sort of plotting which at times seems to be going nowhere. Essentially the reader is dipping into Shade’s mind and personality–that’s the real adventure–but at times the story feels untethered from any meaningful story and thus rudderless.
Is It Good?
Shade the Changing Girl #7 is a gorgeously drawn issue that’s changing Shade’s present as we learn more about her past.