SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 by Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Saida Temofonte, and Ande Parks
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
There is a lot of conflict building in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5, as this team works toward the conclusion of this series. There's a huge character reveal, surrounded by a plot that will keep you on edge with the turn of every page. The entire art team shines in this issue, but the coloring and lettering deserve special nods.
97 %
A Triumph

The story of Loma Shade begins to wind down in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. This creative team cranks up the tension as much as possible in this series’ penultimate issue.

With in-fighting, personal attacks, and characters meeting for the first time, a lot happens in this comic. It’ll keep you turning the page, and make you got back to the beginning just to look at the beautiful imagery. This is the kind of issue that makes you sad the series is coming to an end.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Yet if you’re going out, you may as well do it with a bang — one that threatens Earth’s very existence!

Lots of Fighting in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5

As Loma looks for her missing heart, she’s angry, depressed, and apathetic. She wonders why she’s even moving forward with the search, questioning her will to live. This is a very upsetting scene, but it also touches on the topic of mental health. Loma is clearly struggling, and addressing these kinds of thoughts helps to make it less taboo. This is a topic fellow Young Animal series, ETERNITY GIRL, tackles very well, and SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 challenges the stigma surrounding mental health in a concise, but similar, way.

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Loma’s frustration leads her back to her hero, Rac Shade, but the two get into a heated argument about her heart. Their relationship has strained over the last few issues, but it reaches a boiling point here.

Meanwhile, Loma’s ex, Lepuck, attempts to bring down Mrs. Deeps. She’s been facilitating Earth’s impending destruction by the Cray, a locust-like alien race. In his journey, Lepuck finds Loma’s heart and meets River, who has a plan to get the organ back to its owner.

As River explains this to Teacup, Gan (aka Megan) follows her home and attacks her. Teacup is able to fend him off, and he goes running to Wes. That night, Wes finds out who Gan really is.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Back in the world of Madness, Loma discovers something truly horrid about Rac. This shatters her view of him, and shows the reader that she’s in more danger than we ever could have imagined.

An Unmatched Art Team

Marley Zarcone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Saida Temofonte, and Ande Parks create a true work of art with each issue, and SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 is no exception. The second page of the book, where Loma struggles with her emotions and the loss of her heart, displays imagery that will punch you right in the gut. The acting on Loma’s face in each panel is truly exceptional.

Fitzpatrick’s colors really do elevate SHADE in an incredible fashion. The variation and contrast she creates with different colors is extremely effective in this series, especially whenever Madness is present. I’d argue that Fitzpatrick’s colors are the most iconic, unique element of SHADE. Her work shines in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5, just as it does in every issue of this series and its predecessor.

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Similarly, Temofonte’s lettering deserves massive recognition. She captures different voices and moments with such finesse, and transforms auditory cues into visual delights. The way the visualized Madness effects her work is always fun to explore. Her lettering compliments and blends with that of the rest of the team’s work so well, and it really should be acknowledged more often.

The Truth About People

If you’ve been paying attention to the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, you know that people we idolize can easily let us down. People we think we know have lives and traits we know nothing about. Sometimes, that can be horrifying. That’s why the turn writer Cecil Castellucci takes in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 is so incredible.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Loma learning the truth about Rac hits very close to home. It rings especially true in light of recent events in pop culture and entertainment. This book has always had political, socially-conscious moments, but this is a step above anything we’ve seen so far. It’s a phenomenal, devastating character moment for Rac, but seeing how Loma responds next issue will be even more fascinating.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #5 is a success that leads us brilliantly towards the end of a really remarkable series. It makes you wish this team had more than one issue to explore this turn. Alas, this is the penultimate issue for SHADE. I, personally, will miss this book so much, but I also expect to gain a lot from re-reading the issues. The story is so rich, I’d bet that it will have a successful afterlife.

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