Loma Shade is trying to make the best of her life on Earth, but the life whose threads she has picked up is proving more complicated than it seemed at first…  Your Major Spoilers review of Shade The Changing Girl #3 awaits!

SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL #3
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Marley Zarcone
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Editor: Jamie S. Rich & Molly Mahan
Publisher: DC Comics/Young Animal
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Shade The Changing Girl: Shade has settled into her adopted human body, but the rest of her high school isn’t sure how to deal with this strange new behavior from the girl they once knew.  The more Shade learns about Megan’s former life, the more she realizes everyone hates her.  It’s one of many fresh sensations Shade is getting to know.  Being a human is galaxies different than being from Meta, and it’s not going to be easy balancing all of that with the madness that brought her here.”

IT AIN’T CALLED ‘META’ FOR NOTHIN’

As we open, Loma muses on the nature of fear and the various responses to it across the universe, only to find that she is facing one of the most terrifying things in the cosmos: High school gym class.  Swimming, though natural to her body, eludes her and she nearly drowns, leading to some unpleasant revelations.  Back in/on Meta, Loma’s friends find themselves in hot water as the investigation into the stolen M-Vest, while she investigates the reasons why everyone seems to hate her/Megan.  (There’s also some metaphysical stuff that may be the real Megan traveling through space/time with murderous intent, but it may also just be me misreading some of the more existential bits of story.)  When Megan’s old sins come calling the form of a group of angry teenage girls, Loma channels Megan’s rage into her own madness-transcendent powers and…

…it gets ugly.

WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS

I enjoy a good impenetrable, weird, metaphysical story when it feels like there’s something larger being said, and this issue manages to balance that line very well, with Lomas remembering the poetry of Rac Shade as she tries to fit into her new life.  A sequence where she travels within herself to “speak” with Megan’s lost essence is pretty amazing as well, and the art really sells the sequence.  Zarcone does a lovely job throughout, with strange beings and cars on Meta, weird psychic landscapes and even the boring mundane bits of life all well-rendered and interesting.  There’s a short backup story featuring a take on ‘Dial H For Hero’ that is truly inspired and truly bizarre, rounding out a really strange but really effective issue overall.

THE BOTTOM LINE: DELIGHTFULLY (AND DISTURBINGLY) WEIRD

I really enjoy how the Young Animal imprint picks up where classic Vertigo stories left off, full of strangeness, metaphor and lyrical dialogue.  There are a few points in this issue where the story plays it a little bit too vague, but on the whole it’s a coherent, interesting story with a lot of promise.  Shade The Changing Girl #3 makes for a quick first read, but has hidden gems to find upon second and third readings, with strong art and a firm grasp of the fact that the real horror is the life of the average teenager, earning an impressive 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s not as far-out as Doom Patrol or as immediately engaging as Cave Carson, but it’s still a solid story and Young Animal hasn’t let me down yet…

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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