Artist: Marley Zarcone
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Main Cover Artist: Becky Cloonan
Variant Covers Artists: Duncan Fegredo & Tula Lotay
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: October 5, 2016
Megan Boyer is not a nice girl... Loma Shade is not a nice, um, bird-faced kokopelli thing. One's fleeing from boredom, the other's clinging to life.
It takes a special kind of book to open with your main protagonist dead. Well, kinda dead... kinda not. Megan Boyer lay comatose in the Valleyville Medical Center, where she's been for quite some time. That is, of course, before her body gets invaded by the M-Vest wearing Metan called Loma.
Fans of prior incarnations of Rac Shade will know that he was either a fugitive from Meta or a poet from Meta... Shade the Changing Girl appears to be going with the latter. Rac Shade was the Mad Poet of Meta, and the idol of the strange beaked Metan Loma. And so, in what appears to have been a fit of boredom, she steals his M-Vest from Meta Museum's Earth exhibit, and leaves in search of a new body to occupy off in the "great blue".
When we see someone in a prone position, like our Ms. Boyer, it's easy to have a kind of knee-jerk sympathy toward her. Here she is, laying comatose... brain-dead with no hope of regaining function. It's hard to reconcile that with the fact that, prior to her accident... she was kind of an asshole. Her classmates were actually happy that she was out of their lives... to the point they were willing to let her drown when she overdosed prior to a skinny-dip some time back.
This was a very interesting book. A bit hard to get into, I will admit... to the point where I set it aside and returned for a second read prior to collecting my thoughts. I was going to simply write it off as "weird for weirdness sake", and call it good... however, I'm not convinced that's what we're in store for. Sure, this is a strange book... and it may take the uninitiated... and initiated both a bit of time to get their bearings here.
This feels like an unfiltered take on the character... or at least the concept. In the prior two volumes, and I'm well aware it's unfair to draw this kind of comparison... things felt a whole lot tighter from the get-go. Can't say with any sort of authority that one approach is any better than the other, as the industry is a completely different place than it was in 1992, let alone 1977 when Shade first hit the shelves.
I feel that this volume of Shade will be given the freedom to go "full psychedelic", and whether that's your bag or not is up to you. So far, I see a ton of potential in utilizing this approach... and hell, I'll concede that I could be completely wrong! We've got far more questions than answers at this point... and thankfully, they're all questions I want to stick around to see answered.
Bits and Pieces:
I'm hopeful for this book. The art is almost a sensory treat... the mix of psychedelic imagery and its wonderful color palette make it easy to get lost in the world of Madness. There may be critics that pull out the old "weird for weirdness sake" card... and, I can't really contest that. This was weird, and without its full context... this is a difficult one to fairly judge. For what it was, I enjoyed it... if you're a weirdo like me, I think you'll dig it too.