[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Written by: Cecil Castellucci
Illustrated by: Marley Zarcone
Inks by: Marley Zarcone & Ande Parks (pgs 9-22)
Colors by: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Shade has found Honey Rich. And she’s found her just as Honey is ready to go and pass into the next life. In order to stop her, Shade switches places with her and stops her soul from moving on, allowing it to move into her body and Shade (Loma)’s into Honey’s. As Honey figures out what’s happened, she is angry at Loma. When Honey learns that her TV show is known throughout the galaxy, she relents a bit and agrees to show Loma what it’s like to be a star as long as Loma let’s Honey die when she’s done.
On Meta, we learn that there’s more to Mellu’s motivations for getting Loma back to Meta. Apparently, there was something between him and Rac Shade. They determine that Loma’s avian body is dying and send Lepuck to Earth to retrieve Loma in Megan’s body to stand trial.
As Loma is on a tour of a film studio with Honey Rich, Honey, in Megan’s body, reveals to Loma that Megan’s body is pregnant. Loma is clearly shocked and an interesting conversation ensues. Before they leave the studio, Honey is discovered again by a studio agent.
Right away the coming of age theme for Loma is present again as she meets Honey Rich and begins to learn from her about life, death and human procreation. Despite Loma being an avian alien, this book and issue addresses what it is to be human. While it is dressed in the trappings of science fiction, at its core it is about people and relationships and what it means to be human. In doing so, it can provide the reader a new perspective or a sympathetic point of view, both of which will enrich the reader’s experience, not only of the book, but with life as well. If it makes you stop and think it’s good art.
As this series progresses, there is something that’s been here all along that may not be obvious. There’s a dual edged commentary going on with Loma’s fascination with “Life with Honey.” Not only do the episodes echo much of what Loma is experiencing on Earth, but it also suggests: What do our children learn from television? How are their expectations shaped my media? This is particularly true with this issue as Loma learns that a lot of what she expected about life on Earth from watching “Life with Honey” just isn’t true after interacting with Honey Rich.
There is only one aspect of this issue that I found distracting. It comes towards the end as Honey Rich reveals to Loma that Loma’s body is pregnant. The whole conversation about how that happened is genius. It works on multiple levels and even has a bit of humor as Loma laments the differences in human and alien physiology. When the scene references abortion, Honey Rich’s comment is troubling. While I understand the perspective that is being given, for a book that has focused so much on themes of life, puberty and what it means to be human, Honey’s point of view lacks the understanding of the responsibility for one’s actions.
While the particular situation is more complex in this metaphor because Loma doesn’t know enough about human reproduction and from the narrative, the pregnancy is not a common sexually fertilized egg, believing that getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy is difficult because your body doesn’t belong to you, is a great misunderstanding of the responsibility of parents and soon to be parents. Man or woman, once you have conceived a child, that child is your responsibility and that child comes first.
Shade the Changing Girl continues to be one of the most unique comics on the market. It approaches things differently and relies on real life more than fantastical trappings to engage the reader. Even if you’ve never read an issue, it’s easy to get hooked on an issue like this one.