[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Written by: Cecil Castellucci
Illustrated by: Marley Zarcone & Jamie Coe (Menagerie: Gan)
Colors by: Kelly Fitzpatrick
As Loma Shade is thrust 5 years into the future she struggles with understanding where she is in time. Luckily, Rac Shade is there to help talk her through it as her madness counselor. He shows her her high school friends’ graduation and is sensitive to Loma’s loss with the death of her Avian body. This takes Loma to a new place of discovery- death. She sees the many deaths around her both real and metaphorical. She herself is now in the body of a woman and not a girl, heavy handed- the death of childhood.
Back on Meta, Lepuck takes a payoff to stay quiet about the Madness vest and Loma, and consequently finds himself of what appears to be a Green Lantern ring. Eventually, Loma finds herself drawn to River at the Florida Institute of Technology where he is studying Exo-Biology. As they reconnect, River finds himself in a conundrum: the department has instructed students to turn in any aliens they know of or come across personally.
It’s nice to have Shade’s voice back in my head and Marley Zarcone’s images in my eyes. It’s like visiting with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. The Young Animal weirdness is in full swing in Shade the Changing Woman #1! Shade is still trying to find out what it is to be human as she wrestles with her recent “death.” Loma’s Avian body has died and Shade is experiencing some unique feelings, but it’s easy to relate as we all face the prospect of death.
Death is also a metaphor for change in this issue. Shades experiences and the many deaths she and Rac discuss can be viewed as change. As Shade enters adulthood in an immediate way, it echoes the realization that many have upon realizing that one is an adult.
Recapping what was missed off panel is welcome connective tissue and it also functions as a means of catch up for a new reader.
There is a back up feature titles Menagerie: Gan that has a young man finding a bird that has fallen out of a tree and having a nightmare about the bird being inside him and taking over. This is an interesting reversal on Loma’s situation. Perhaps, this will lead to a rebirth of Loma’s Avian body.
Like a Shakespearean play, it takes a bit of time to re-acclimate to the language of Shade, but it is back by the end and leaves one wanting more.
Shade is back in all her introspective wonderful weirdness! On a new path, Shade continues to explore the meaning of life and now death as only an alien in a human body can do, and yet it remains so familiar.