Shade, the Changing Girl Volume 2: Little Runaway

Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artists: Marguerite Sauvage, Marley Zarcone, Ande Parks
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: DC’s Young Animal

Review by Anelise Farris

Shade, the Changing Girl Volume 2: Little Runaway collects issues 7-12, the second arc of this fantastic series. I reviewed several of the issues included here (beginning with issue 7), but some series are just so good that you want to review it by the volume too. Shade, the Changing Girl Volume 2: Little Runaway is all about Shade leaving her tiny town of Valley Ville and going out to see America—beginning with Gotham City.

To be clear, although issues 7-12 are collected here, the new arc doesn’t real take off until issue 8. Issue 7 is a standalone issue that provides readers with more information about who the Avians are and what their history is with the Metans. This background is useful as it is not only a helpful jumping on point for new readers, but it also clearly establishes why Loma is a character that has struggled to discover, or perhaps claim, her true self. This is one of the reasons that Shade, the Changing Girl is such a compelling coming-of-age story, and, although it is about a body-snatching bird-like alien, it is truer than many of the “real-life” comics I’ve read over the last couple of years.

With issue 8, the new arc really takes off as Shade does all of the touristy things in Gotham City. However, Shade is not one to be deluded by the glitz and glamour of New York, and she actually spends most of her time with the impoverished. It becomes clear right away, however, that anywhere that Shade goes, madness is sure to follow. As the madness is slowly taking over Shade’s body, she wants to bring all of New York City with her, too.

One of her outings in this new place is a concert for a 1960s band called The Sonic Booms. Shade became a fan of this band because they were featured on her favorite classic television show Life with Honey. There is just one problem, however, as Shade doesn’t understand the concept of age, time, and just why everyone looks so much older than they do on television. So, what does Shade decide to do? She becomes determined to find the actress who plays Honey and to make her young and healthy again. And, this becomes the main mission in Shade, the Changing Girl Volume 2: Little Runaway.

There is a whole lot of traveling—across time, space, America, and, between bodies. While Shade is having her own adventures on earth, things back on her home planet Meta are becoming increasingly dangerous for her friend Lepuck, and things aren’t going so well for Shade either as her enemies are determined to locate her and the madness coat. So yes, the story is AMAZING, but we can’t forget to talk about the art, too.

Shade, the Changing Girl Volume 2: Little Runaway opens with issue 7—which had a different artist than the previous 6 issues. For someone who has been reading the series since day one, it took me awhile to become accustomed to the new style. It was more toned down than the trippy, psychedelic look of the first arc, but I think it works because it is primarily a background issue. After issue 7 though, the usual team is back in all its whimsical, bright, weird wonderfulness. As the madness amps up over these issues, it is reflected in the art. The final issue of this arc is what I deemed in my review: “brain melting.” And, just trust me—read it, and you’ll see what I mean. Oh, and for the record, that’s a very good thing.

Buy it. 
Although I was a huge fan of the first arc of this series, Shade, the Changing Girl Volume 2: Little Runaway amps up the madness in all the right ways. This is an impressive coming-of-series that perfectly balances humor and fun with philosophy and real-world issues. Also, be sure to check out the interview that Rogues Portal did with a few members of the creative team!  

Anelise Farris
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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