By Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Cover by Becky Cloonan
Shade The Changing Girl is a book about two young females who might have more in common than appears on the surface. Loma, a young female alien from the planet Meta is in search of an adventure. In a letter to her current boyfriend Lepuck she explains how they will never last long term. She uses the classic line “it’s not you it’s me” explaining that she is kind of a mess, owing bad people money, losing her job, even having other lovers on the side. She is in search of an escape. Megan is a high school student from Valleyville. She is a bully and she has the cute nice boy under her thumb. Her best friends actually hate her and she may have an issue over indulging on dangerous drugs. Both women are in search of adventure. Megan takes things too far and ends up in a coma. Loma convinces Lepuck to override the security at the Museum of Alien Curiosities and steals Rac Shade’s coat. This coat transports Loma into Megan’s unconscious body and bam, we have a fish out of water story.
The comic is pretty solid once you get into it but it can be tough to understand. What appears to just be surface level confusing at the beginning slowly places the building blocks and eventually constructs a solid first issue. One aspect I was very impressed with was the characterization of Megan through the reaction of her family and friends. Megan has been in a coma and written off as gone, in fact the plug was going to be pulled on her. When she awakens due to the arrival of Loma in her body her family doesn’t seem too excited. It would be a huge emotional shock and might not even feel real at the moment, so that family reaction didn’t really raise too many flags. However, when the school finds out that Megan is awake her “friends” seem more annoyed than happy. This really helps solidify our idea of what kind of person Megan was. She wasn’t a nice girl. Now Loma, who wanted to escape her life, finds herself in a body that might be more trouble than she was expecting.
The art by Marley Zarcone is solid. I really enjoyed her art back when I was the only person reading Effigy. She draws a nice clean line but with these psychedelic panels that really open up the visual and allow her to cut loose and let the art flow. Facial expressions are important in opening issues as we get to know new characters and Marley is superb in the facial detail. The emotions of the characters are clearly seen and understood.
Shade The Changing Girl is kind of weird, very psychedelic and at times confusing. In saying that there are some deep ideas being explored here and some interesting parallels between the characters. If this sounds like your thing you won’t be disappointed by Shade The Changing Girl.