Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shade the Changing Girl #8 Review and **SPOILERS**

That (Crazy) Girl

Written by: Cecil Castellucci 
Illustrated by: Marley Zarcone 
Inked by : Ande Parks 
Back-up illustrated by: Audrey Mok 
Colored by: Kelly Fitzpatrick 
Lettered by: Saida Temofonte 
Cover by: Becky Cloonan 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: May 10, 2017


What’s this? Reggie reviewing Shade the Changing Girl instead of Chris?! The ol’ Ace is otherwise indisposed this week, so I’m pinch-hitting because I am a great guy like that. Don’t worry, we’re both still recording a segment for the Weird Science DC Comics podcast—it’s just the written review that’s changing. So let’s not dawdle with a long preamble, let’s hop right into my review of Shade the Changing Girl #8!

Explain It!

She ran away from home after being humiliated at the high school prom…or some dance, and now it’s Shade in the City—Gotham City, that is! This Gotham City is one closest to New York, complete with the Statue of Justice as seen in the feature film Batman Forever. I thought this was a nice touch, but there was also part of me wondering…why not just make her visit New York City? I mean, except for a brief mention, there’s no Batman in this issue—and I’m just as surprised by that as you are! Let’s just get into the action: Shade wanders around Gotham City, oohing and aahing while plunging everyone around her into psychedelic madness, as is her way. She dumps the effects of her old life into a garbage can, then visits Robinson Park (named, one must assume, after Golden Age Batman contributor Jerry Robinson), takes the Gotham Subway, and at Bachalo Square (named, and again I am assuming, after Canadian artist Chris Bachalo, better known for his 90s Vertigo work but who has drawn Batman in the past) brings the statue of a saber-wielding Musketeer to life so that it plunges its blade into the back of a nearby homeless dude. What fun!
Back on Meta, Loma’s ex-boyfriend Lepuck is being experimented on by Rac Shade’s ex-boyfriend, Mello Loran, and his assistant the semi-Hellboy dude. The experiment is to put a tab of madness on his tongue, and let him drift into an ethereal wonderland of changing color and malleable shape—hey, I used to experiment with madness in high school, I guess! I had quite a few bouts with madness walking around Greenwich Village and laughing at mundane things displayed in storefronts! Lepuck’s reaction is a lot different than mine, though. He’s absolutely furious at being manipulated. While Shade continues to share her madness with the citizens of Gotham, her Earth parents and classmates are freaking out over the fact that she disappeared. The mean pranksters that caused Shade to flee justify their actions by reinforcing what a bitch she was when she preferred to be named Megan. But Shade destroyed Megan’s life force or whatever last issue, so that shouldn’t come up anymore!
At the Gotham Museum of Generalities, that looks awfully similar to the New York Museum of Natural History, Shade lingers at a dinosaur exhibit that also looks…just take my word for it. She, being a bird person in spirit, feels an affinity for these avian precursors, which is sort of weird. After freaking everyone out by puking madness in one of the exhibits, Shade steps over to the Astronomy wing and finds Lepuck, reaching out to her across the cosmos through madness! I think. He’s pissed off at her, presumably because her having stolen the M-Coat from Meta is why he’s being experimented on in the first place. Shade, as Loma, placates him, but Lepuck warns that “they’re coming,” which probably means those assholes experimenting on him to divine the location of the coat. Shade wakes from this experience as if it were a dream, and gets rousted out of the museum by a guard. Outside, she passes by the Embassy Theater, where the Sonic Booms are performing! I guess this is a band she likes because she rushes towards the entrance, that now looks like a giant open mouth!
The back-up is more Life with Honey, that television show Shade likes, and it’s okay. Some more funny poking at gender roles that ends a little flat. But the story proper is pretty solid. Shade narrates the whole thing in captions with the wide-eyed poetic naiveté that only a teenager can evoke, and joining her as she joyfully spread madness around the city was a fun traipse through sustained psychedelia that we haven’t seen in this comic for a few issues. My one misgiving is that she’s in Gotham City, but there’s no real recognizable stuff from Gotham City…which is alright, I suppose, otherwise I complain that people go to Gotham in the DCU just so they can have the Bat Signal whizz by for a panel. But this really felt almost the other way, like Shade had gone to New York City initially, then somewhere they decided to change it to Gotham and threw in some token mentions. It didn’t ruin things, it just sort of nagged at me and is the only thing worth mentioning in any negative sense. Perhaps Matches Malone will show up next issue and it will all make perfect sense.

Bits and Pieces:

Your Magical Mystery Tour through Gotham City awaits, and you won't even need to wear the M-Vest to enjoy it. There's a bit of a pause in the action as Shade enjoys this blue marble she's made her home, and fans of the series should feel well gratified by it. Everything about this character just rings so true to me. Even the crappy bits.


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