Shade the Changing Girl #9
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Marley Zarcone
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: DC’s Young Animal
A review by Anelise Farris
The previous issue of Shade the Changing Girl started a brand new arc (check out my review here!), which had us following Shade, our favorite body snatching alien/former mean girl, as she left Valley Ville and began her tour of America—which, of course, began in Gotham City. And here, in Shade the Changing Girl #9 , we are still in Gotham City, as Shade is determined to use her affinity with madness to create an Earth that is just as she envisions it should be.
While Shade is living carefree and colorful as ever in New York City, things back on her home planet Meta are less than ideal. At one point in the series Shade had been concerned about how she would travel home; however, it looks like now Shade will be going home—whether she wants to or not! Her enemies have been tracking her and the madness coat, and they are determined to find her and bring her home so she can face the consequences of the actions she set in motion way back in issue #1.
I feel like I say this with every issue of Shade that I review, but I am always impressed by how Shade the Changing Girl manages to be so fun and humorous, while at the same time being heavy and philosophical. The majority of this issue takes place at a concert for a 1960s band called The Sonic Booms—a group that Shade became aware of due to her obsession with the classic television show Life with Honey. At the concert, Shade can’t understand why everyone is old and, furthermore, why people would be okay with being old. As such, Shade is determined to find the beloved actress who plays Honey and make her young again. This issue brings up interesting questions about time and age and the importance of valuing life at all stages.
The writing in this issue is, like always, clever and heartfelt. I find myself laughing out loud at Shade’s horror when she encounters the primitive technology on earth, and the way her expressions are drawn—particularly when they are repeated across several panels—are not just entertaining, but also affecting. The art continues to be bold, colorful, and vibrant—a psychedelic dreamland that still manages to be rooted in the real world. There is a whole lot of raw emotion here, and it is impossible not to become invested in Shade’s story. With the unintentional chaos that Shade causes in Gotham City in Shade the Changing Girl #9—which leads her to quickly become labeled a “feral teen”—I am excited and a bit nervous to see what happens when she finds Honey!
Buy it! The second arc of Shade the Changing Girl is shaping up to be just as fun and big-hearted as the first. In Shade the Changing Girl #9, Shade’s good-intentioned acts of madness in Gotham City cause more harm than good, but Shade remains optimistic as she ventures out to find Honey. I can easily say that Shade the Changing Girl is my favorite coming-of-age sci-fi series (comic form or otherwise), and if you aren’t reading it yet, well, get on it!