Shade the Changing Girl #7

Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: DC’s Young Animal

A review by Anelise Farris

Shade the Changing Girl #7Shade the Changing Girl #7 is a standalone issue, a one shot between the conclusion of the first arc, which ended in March with issue #6, and the start of the next arc, which is set to begin in May. Shade the Changing Girl is one of my absolute favorite series of the past year, and I was so excited that I was getting a one shot before the series transitioned into their second arc. Why? Well, for selfish reasons of course, more Shade! But also, I hope that people who haven’t checked out the series yet, are willing to read this one shot, and then of course be convinced to go read all the other Shade comics.

In brief, Shade the Changing Girl is about a poetry-loving alien named Loma who travels to Earth. Local mean girl Megan, a high-schooler who was put into a coma, becomes the vehicle for Loma; that is, Loma inhabits Megan’s body. As those who knew Megan quickly learn, Loma-in-Megan is anything but a mean girl, and Loma decides to go by the name of Shade. In the first arc, Shade learned the truth of how Megan got into a coma in the first place, how Megan terrorized all of those around her, and how simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference on earth. In the last issue, things were looking up: Shade had fully taken control of Megan’s body, and she made some friends too: River and Teacup.

Here, in Shade the Changing Girl #7, the series gives readers a whole lot of backstory that we had previously been missing (which makes it a great jumping on point for new readers!). We learn what Avians are (Loma’s bird-like alien species), their characteristics and culture, and the havoc that their arrival caused to the planet Meta of the human-like Metans. Loma was adopted by Metans who tried to stifle her true self, and she and her human friends are able to discuss biological and step/adoptive parent woes. And this is one of the consistent strengths of this series: tackling real-world issues and experiences with a surprising emotional depth.

Loma was always considering “troubled” on Meta, different, out of place, and, as such, she turned to the only place that made her feel alive: the poetry of Rac Shade, the poet who went mad and travelled to Earth—inspiring none other than our lovely Loma. In addition to the backstory this issue gives us about Loma, Shade and her friends River and Teacup are getting ready for a school dance. However, at the dance, Shade learns that perhaps friends don’t come as easily on Earth as she might expect, and an incident at the dance might make Shade say goodbye to Valley Ville altogether.

Shade the Changing Girl #7 feels different than the previous issues—though not in bad way—and this is most likely due to the muted pastels of Marguerite Sauvage—as opposed to the bright, surreal, psychedelic dream team of Marley Zarcone and Kelly Fitzpatrick. As someone who has read and re-read the first six issues, this was off putting at first because when you love something you notice any little differences, but after reading and re-reading Shade the Changing Girl #7 I became more impressed by Sauvage’s work. And I think the lighter, softer coloring really works for this issue as it focuses on background story more than tripping on Madness.

The Verdict
Buy it!
This is a solid issue that manages to effectively balance humor, gravity, backstory, and plot progression and it should be in everyone’s pull list! Shade the Changing Girl is a series that you do not want to miss out on, and Shade the Changing Girl #7 is the perfect entry point!

Anelise Farris
farranel@isu.edu
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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