Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shade the Changing Woman #4 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Definition of Madness

Written By: Cecil Castellucci
Illustrated By: Marley Zarcone
Additional Inks By: Ande Parks
Back-Up Art By: Jamie Coe 
Colored By: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered By: Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 6, 2018 

Well, today we officially enter the second-half of the second-season of the Young Animal line... and we do so by taking a look at the book that fell the furthest from my good graces since the inception of the line!

Are we about done with the purple prose?  Can we be through with the "I'm 14 and this is deep" turns of phrase?

Well, probably not... but let's check anyway.

You know we're in for a good time when on the fourth page we get that tired quote about "the definition of insanity"... well, they use "madness" instead of insanity, but the point remains.  Don't you remember how witty and deep you thought you were when you learned that saying... like back in the eighth grade?  You just couldn't wait for an opportunity to "drop" that on someone.  Jeez.

We open with Shade learning that her book has been retroactively changed into a six-issue limited series, and so she breaks away from Rac Shade, telling him off... and realizing she's wasted $12 of her readers' money with horribly pretentious and uninteresting babble.  Good thing there were so few readers to begin with!  Okay, none of that actually happened... except for the bit about Loma Shade telling Rac to "eff off".

As has been customary since the last volume wrapped up, the book only really picks up and gets "good" (well, better) when Shade herself is off-panel.  As the end grows ever nearer, our supporting cast starts edging "into place".

River reveals himself to Teacup as a "double agent" of sorts... he's only with the Alien Snatchers in order to ensure Shade's safety.  Teacup herself... starts to come around to the idea of letting a little bit of Shade-flavored madness back into her life.

The conflict finally starts to clear up here... and, well, it's probably not a moment too soon.  Hellboy's Sister reveals that she is also something of a "double agent"... working alongside the Alien-Snatchers in order to get people hooked on that "folly" drug... so invaders from... ugh, "Cray" will take over Earth rather than Meta.

There's a lot of stuff going on here... which is kind of the problem.  When we spend three issues (and twelve bucks) where very little happens... and only start cramming things in once we learn that the book is cancelled (which it was), it makes it hard for any of these weaving threads to be all that engaging.  There's just too much happening... and it feels as though nothing is getting the appropriate chance to breathe.

Worth mentioning... the art here is still great.  Zarcone continues to kill it, and it looks like she's having a lot of fun playing in Shade's "sandbox".

Bits and Pieces:

As the end looms near, Shade finally decides to get her rear-in-gear and quit it with the pretentious platitudes.  The art, which is fantastic, will likely have to carry this one across the finish line.


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