Shade The Changing Girl #6 Feat Image

The new and revamped SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL series is already spiraling into the madness! DC just released its collected edition arc of “Earth Girl Made Easy” by Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone. Another piece of DC’s new YOUNG ANIMAL imprint, SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL is more of a continuation of previous Shade titles.

The series brings fans back to the world of Meta, a planet from another dimension. The study of the emotional context the “Madness” has been discontinued on Meta. An easy way to understand the madness is to think of it as an emotion with power, similar to how the Green Lantern Corps use Will to fuel their rings. Loma, an obsessive fan of Rac Shade, steals his famous multi colored and spotted Madness-Vest from a museum to follow in his footsteps. The M-Vest was created to take users where Madness emotions rate exceptionally high. Now, experiencing life as an Earth girl and gripping the power of the madness is no easy task as our new central character Loma finds out.

Different Shades of Shade

Shade is a creation from the legendary Steve Ditko in 1977. Ditko’s series was only eight issues but introduced fugitive and secret agent, Rac Shade, the M-vest (or Miraclo Vest) and the world of Meta. After the short-lived series, Shade then appeared in various SUICIDE SQUAD arcs.

Peter Milligan revamped the series in 1990 as a part of the early days of Vertigo only six months after Shade’s last appearance in SUICIDE SQUAD. Having a much darker tone than the previous Ditko or the current Shade series, Milligan’s run had a deeper psychological and horror feeling to it. Milligan created Rac Shade as a love yearning and romantic poet and altered the M-Vest, naming it the madness vest as it was able to warp reality at the wear’s will. In the series, Shade is sent to Earth from planet Meta to stop a swarm of madness that is consuming Earth. Shade can only come to Earth by taking over a body that is near death, but once acquiring a host body, Shade slowly regains the person’s memories and life.

The series went on for 70 issues, with multiple crossovers in the DC/VERTIGO universe. Part of the “British Invasion” of comics, it fits right in with Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN and Grant Morrison’s ANIMAL MAN.

Shade the Changing Girl #1
Image Courtesy of DC Comics

READ: Curious on other YOUNG ANIMAL titles? Check out MOTHER PANIC!

Shade The Changing Girl

In the newest series, Cecil Castellucci has introduced us to Loma, a bird-like alien from planet Meta. Infatuated with and idolizing Rac Shade and his endeavors on Earth, Loma became obsessed with the possibilities of the M-Vest. She decides to escape her life on Meta by taking Rac Shade’s M-vest, now calling herself Loma Shade. When arriving on Earth, she takes over comatose girl Megan Boyer. Megan, who before her accident became resented by her family and friends, has a heavy reputation built for herself.

Megan was the school bully and sociopath, controlling everyone from her parents to her swim team to school nobodies. With Shade taking over Megan’s body she’s learning how tough high school can be when balancing a terrible past and needy boys. So far, the book has focused on Megan’s past and Loma being hunted down by Meta superiors. The story shows us her struggles and redemption in the eyes of her peers, along with adjusting to Earth life. The series so far shows us a love letter to Rac Shade and a completely new story for the world of madness.

Crafty Creators

SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL doesn’t hesitate to throw you into the bizarre madness that is Shade. Marley Zarcone utilizes her creativity immediately from page one. A scene where the now possessed Megan wakes up from her coma to smiling balloons, elephants, and disjointed reality peeling patches of color away is just the beginning of this story. It’s a perfect example of an artist taking full control of the reality of the comic book world and pushing the ability to make it more thoughtful and reflective creatively.

Zarcone carries this style throughout the book, making each panel interesting with how she warps the reality around Shade. She uses psychedelic backgrounds to compliment the extraordinary madness that radiates off Loma while attuned to Earth’s reality. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s use of a 1960’s pallet brings to life Zarcone’s panels while putting together the mad world.

Shade the Changing Girl #1
Image Courtesy of DC Comics

READ: Interested in Zarcone’s work? Check out Marley Zarcone at SDCC 2017! 

Future of Shade

For fans of Milligan’s run, this may not be what they expected. It’s an entirely new story, although it makes references to the past series. Focused on high school teenage life and the struggles that go on during that age, SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL is great for new readers of any age and shows promise for strong storytelling in future issues. Loma is an interesting new character as an alien in a new world. She’s something that young readers can identify with and older readers will find enjoyable. Overall, SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL is a fantastic refreshing book and much needed in the comic book universe.

SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL VOL. 1: EARTH GIRL MADE EASY is in stores now.

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SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL BY CECIL CASTELLUCCI AND MARLEY ZARCONE
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Plot
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Summary
SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL is a book that can capture not only fans from the previous series but will draw in a run of readers as well. The book has its own style that will define a new set of readers.
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Mesmerizing and unique in it's own way.
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