[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artists: Marley Zarcone & Ande Parks
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Believe it or not, this issue is a one on one battle between Loma and Rac Shade! As Loma finally sees her hero for who he really is, she also tries to get him to help her stop the Cray invasion of Earth. Loma has uncovered the empty husks and jarred hearts of Rac’s former loves. She pleads desperately for him to help her, but he rebuffs her with the tease that she can’t win without her heart and the tease that he thought she was the one.
Loma had fallen for Rac’s poetry and stolen the Madness Vest to follow his path. Where as Rac claims to no longer have need of his heart, Loma’s journey is all about discovering hers. Loma opens a jar and tells Rac she will use these hearts to try and overcome him. When she uses a heart, she uses it up entirely and Rac sees his former lovers again and it hits him hard. Loma soon learns that Rac is not as self-actualized as he claims to be. He is not distant from his feeling as he makes himself appear.
Meanwhile, Wes and Teacup; River and Lepuck and Kelvin and Mrs. Deeps continue to play their roles. Lepuck and River use a fragment of Madness to get to Loma. Teacup and Wes do the same. Mrs. Deeps hopes it is her escape, but Kelvin jumps on and all six are transported into the fray between Rac and Loma. As Lepuck attempts to deliver her heart to her that he rescued last issue, ‘Gan (Megan) steps in and intercepts it. However, before he can consume it, Wes comes forward and promises that if he/she gives it to Loma, then he will me him/her on Mars. As Loma tries to fit the heart back in, she realizes that she needs to embraces the darkness that ‘Gan represents. This allows Loma to take in the heart and overcome Rac.
In the aftermath, it becomes obvious that River has taken a serious wound and Loma affects one more change….
This title in both its incarnations has consistently used Loma’s learning about being human as a metaphor for the maturing and changing of people through adolescence into adulthood. This issue is no exception. As Shade finds her heart, or rather it is given back to her by Lepuck, she is able to overcome Rac with the power of love. While it may sound corny as you read it here, it’s not corny as it plays out in the issue. Read it more as, once we look at things with our hearts, we are able to overcome differences and deficiencies.
There’s only the slightest feeling that the ending was rushed. This type of story doesn’t necessarily need a protracted finale, but a little more on how Loma stopped the Cray would’ve been a nice addition.
This unique title will be missed as this is the last issue of this run of Shade. The finale wraps up the loose ends, but also sets up what comes next as Loma enters the next phase of her/his life. This concept as executed brings something different to storytelling both technically and emotionally. It’s a real treat to read this series, as it challenged as much as entertained.