By Dustin Cabeal
Madness is hard. I said that last time and it’s still true, but I think that writer Cecil Castellucci knows that as well. Why do I have this hunch? Probably because of the way she addresses madness several times throughout the second issue of Shade: The Changing Girl.
It’s time for Shade to go to school. By the way, that’s what I’ll be calling her since that’s what she’s asked to be called and essentially both characters that make up this new character are dead, so it works. I was looking forward to Shade going to school. We learned in the first issue that Megan’s overdose was intentional and that she was also a total asshole. I’m really into finding out more about that story and seeing how Castellucci will make it play out, but for now, it’s just being dangled in front of us, and that’s fine too. Because someone else’s favorite part of the story might be the detectives looking into the theft of the madness jacket… which is now a fashionable vest.
This issue tones down the madness. Shade has a better grasp on it, but there’s numerous times in which we’re seeing what she’s seeing, and it’s nutty. It’s also awesome, but still nutty. Castellucci is slowly developing Shade’s character. It’s strange because this new character of Shade which is the mind of Loma and the body and mind of Megan acts like a kid. It’s fascinating to me as we know Megan was controlling her parents, her friends and possibly the entire school with her presence and now she’s lost in a new world. It’s some incredible character work that Castellucci is doing, and I’m all in.
The art, for the most part, is consistent and continues to be maddening. Marley Zarcone’s style is a perfect fit for the book, but there were more than a few panels in which facial features were inconsistent and one on the first page that was flat out hard to look at. The attention to detail on the madness is delightful. There’s always something extra going on in the panels. While the art starts off rushed, it does improve by the end of the issue.
I enjoyed the first issue. I liked what it was setting up and I was glad to see it was a part of Young Animal. Shade: The Changing Girl #2 is better. It beats the second issue slump over the head and manages to add more intrigue to this already strange and fascinating world. I will be back for more and hope that DC continues to give this series and the Young Animal line of books the time it needs to develop and grow into a powerhouse division for the publisher. Really, I just want more weird ass books that have excellent writing and art.
Shade: The Changing Girl #2
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Marley Zarcone
Publisher: DC/Young Animal