[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Written by: Cecil Castellucci
Pencils by: Marley Zarcone
Inks by: Marley Zarcone & Ande Parks (pgs 3-11 & 20-21)
Colors by: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Honey Rich in Megan’s body is about to begin another career as a star. As shooting is about to begin, Lepuck, who has been conscripted as an alien extra in the film, recognizes Megan/Loma and goes to her. He interrupts the shoot and throws Honey for a loop. Behind the camera, Loma in Honey’s body sees Lepuck and calls out to him. It takes Lepuck baring his soul and confessing his love for Loma before he realizes that it’s not Loma in Honey’s body.
Meanwhile, Teacup and River have made it to California. When they land, they see a newscast that gives them a lead – Honey Rich from “Life With Honey” has been rushed to the hospital. It’s gotten very complicated. Loma in Honey’s body has pushed it past its physical limits to reach Lepuck and has induced a heart attack. She’s rushed to the hospital where River and Teacup plead for Loma to live. Honey’s body will not hold out, though.
Back at the movie studio, Lepuck pleads with Honey (in Megan’s body) to switch back and give Loma a body to live in. She fights him, but he feeds her one of the madness discs that she’s been leeching. This reconnects Loma and Megan’s body and Honey gives way….
Back on Meta, Dr. Mellu has finally broken into the container holding Loma’s Avian body and he puts on the Madness vest. As a spurned lover of Rac Shade (apparently the Vertigo version, not the original Steve Ditko version), Mellu travels to the Madness realm where Rac Shade has become King. As this plays out, Loma’s Avian body dies, Megan’s body dies and Loma transforms into something else – she finally becomes Shade.
Honey thanks Loma for a final taste of life, Rac tells off Mellu, Megan has a funeral and the new Shade is left with limitless possibilities.
If the first six issues of Shade the Changing Girl were about the spiritual/emotional transformation of Loma into Shade, then the second six have been a journey of the Loma/Megan merger into a physical transformation for Loma as she sheds a physical shell. She is no longer reliant on the body she inhabits. She still appears as Megan, but that isn’t a physical form, but apparently a visual manifestation of the Madness Vest.
Lepuck’s profession of love is very moving. It takes a very bizarre story and brings it home to a point everyone understands – love. Loma’s realization of what love is comes across just as impacting despite it’s short panel time compared to Lepuck baring his soul.
Honey’s gratitude comes across as a true celebration of the gift of life. This is somewhat ironic considering her attitude toward unwanted pregnancy as shown in a previous issue.
This issue got back on track 100% with zero concerns. Nada.
Again, the creative team manages to state something universal about existence in the human condition. Art? Yes. Insightful? Yes. Great comics? Absolutely!