Hollywood can be a killer. Literally. Shade, the Changing Girl #12 opens with Loma and Honey on the set about to make movie magic when all hell breaks loose.
Honey/Megan is delighted to be back in the lime light and in a younger body. She is highly opinionated and ready for set. You can see Loma’s excitement and her infatuation with the movie star life. She exudes innocence and pure glee as they ready Honey/Megan for set. Hanging over her as they apply makeup, Loma is asked to remain with the other “stage Moms”. Just as they are calling Honey/Megan to the stage Lepuck arrives.
Poor Lepuck. He dives head first into his deep feelings for Loma; expressing all the pent up emotions he has felt for the last few months. Lepuck exudes a confidence we have not seen in earlier issues. Demanding that Loma listen to him. He comes to terms with this rollercoaster he has been living only to discover this is not Loma. Who is this stranger? Where is Loma?
There is a terrific juxtaposition between Lepuck divulging his feelings and Loma having a heart attack. While Lepuck opens his heart, Loma’s (older Honey’s) heart constricts and begins to fail. Loma is desperate to connect with Lepuck, the last connection to her home. She reaches out for him and even in reality he is just outside her grasp. The dialogue is clever having the foreground of Lepuck and his declaration of love while in the background you read about the EMTs coming to Honey/Loma’s aid. Honey and Lepuck are so absorbed by their own dialogue they miss the commotion.
The final issue of this arc delves deeply into loss. Loss of a dream. Loss of a friend, loss of a lover and loss of life. In a twist of fate the one person who set out to destroy Loma unintentionally saves her. Mellu finally reaches madness and ultimately disappointment, at the hand of Rac Shade. Honey come to terms with her own selfishness and the loss of her dream. We see how Loma and Lepuck have grown from this adventure as well. Lepuck has endured great physical and emotional pain. He has embraced his feelings for Loma and is willing to make sacrifices to be with her. The new Loma understands what is best for Lepuck and sets him free. In those moments she no longer ignores the feelings she has been pushing down. She understands love.
Did I like it? Castellucci shines a trippy, Technicolor light on real emotional issues. She has crafted a delightfully human character that you want to root for, in the avian Loma Shade. I look forward to her continued adventures.