SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 by Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Saida Temofonte, and Ande Parks
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 is an accomplishment in comic-making. The plot is excellent, you'll fall in love with the characters all over again, and the art will make you want to frame each page and hang it on the wall. This is exactly what every reader wants from a final issue, but it will still make you sad to say goodbye.
99 %
A Fitting End

“They’re all going to die if I don’t care.” These are the stakes in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6.

Loma Shade faces her idol, Rac, in an epic battle that could end the entire world as we know it. Her friends are all over the map as a murderous monster out for revenge hunts them. All of this while an alien race poises to consume the Earth. Loma needs her heart to stand a chance, but it’s nowhere in sight.

NYCC 2017: Cecil Castellucci Talks Shade, Publishing, and the Young Adult Genre!

So will she succeed? Warning, spoilers for this issue are below!

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 Delivers Heart

In the previous issue, Loma discovered the mutilated bodies of Rac’s former lovers, along with their hearts. She realizes that the only way to defeat the man she once worshiped is to borrow those hearts and break him down gradually, using the power of their love while she still doesn’t have access to her own heart. This buys her time, but it’s not enough to defeat him.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Meanwhile, all of her friends scramble. Lepuck and River try to deliver her heart to her. Teacup finally tells Wes the truth about Megan (aka Gan) and Loma — that an alien possessed his ex-girlfriend’s comatose body, displacing her soul which now resides in another host. Mrs. Deeps attempts to escape a doomed earth, but Kelvin catches her and attacks. They all slip into Madness, and end up converging onto the battle between Loma and Rac. Meanwhile, Gan is hot on everyone’s tail.

As Kelvin and Mrs. Deeps collide, River is quite literally caught in the crossfire and takes a bullet to the chest. With the stakes raised even higher, Lepuck throws Loma’s heart to her. Unfortunately, Gan intercepts. Only Wes is able to convince Gan to surrender the heart to Loma, but it doesn’t fit in her chest. She realizes that she needs the dark side of Megan to be fully whole again, and the two embrace.

Bow Down To The Feminist Gold That Is SHADE, THE CHANGING GIRL/WONDER WOMAN SPECIAL #1

With this, Loma is whole and powerful enough to defeat Rac and the aliens attacking earth. In one last act of heroism, Loma transfers from the body of Megan to River, preserving him and — in a way — saving his life. She states that she will be guarding Earth as long as she can, changing as many times as she must.

A Beautiful End

There is arguably no comic series out there quite as beautiful as this one; SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 is a shining example of that.

This art team is, quite frankly, unmatched. Marley Zarcone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Saida Temofonte, and Ande Parks work together to bring a strange world to life in a truly visceral way. No matter what emotion they’re attempting to bring out of a reader, they do it flawlessly. The pure triumph and joy when River stands up, cloaked in madness, announcing that he is Shade, is incredible. The terror that arises when bugs begin to pour out of the hole in Rac’s chest — where his heart should be — is truly disturbing. It gave me flashbacks to the first time I saw Oogie Boogie collapse into a pile of bugs in THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take one last opportunity to applaud Fitzpatrick’s color work. The madness shines brightly in her hands, and SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 wouldn’t be as impactful without her amazing touch.

Yet the book isn’t only visually beautiful. Cecil Castellucci has composed an incredibly touching story told with almost poetic language. There’s a multitude of lines and moments in SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 that are notable, and each reader is sure to have a different, but equally worthy, favorite.

Sad to Say Goodbye

Even though SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 is the perfect end, I’m still devastated that this book is over. It’s given us such brilliant and complex characters who have adapted to the world around them. Their core, and what we love about them, only shone brighter in each issue. These people jump off the page and right into your heart.

SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6
SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Each plot twist was surprising, but made perfect sense once we saw the bigger picture. It was always exciting, touching, and fun, even when it was dark. There hasn’t been any other book quite like it.

Throughout the existence of SHADE, THE CHANGING GIRL and SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN, I had the pleasure of speaking with multiple members of the creative team. The talented, brilliant women I interacted with have done incredible work with SHADE and they should be proud.

Yet it’s a quote from DC’s Young Animal collaborator, Gerard Way, that springs to mind as I finish reading SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN #6. It’s one simple sentence he said to me about a year ago, with joy and adoration in his eyes: “SHADE is my favorite.”

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