Zadie realizes she has power over shadows and, with Angela’s help, starts to learn to control them. But is Shadow-Ricky really her brother, or just one of shadows? Find out in Shadecraft #4 from Image Comics!
Writer: Joe Henderson
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Rick Lopez, Jr.
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 23, 2021
Previously in Shadecraft: Angela Owens, the school counselor, reveals that she is a government agent, and she has been looking for people like Zadie. She knows about the shadows, and knows Zadie creates them, and that she has trouble controlling them. She works with Zadie to create and control them. Josh talks to Zadie, and he thinks he has seen things in the shadows. Ricky insists it is not he. Zadie decides to meet up with Josh and arrives at his house just as he is leaving for the carnival with Carla – Zadie’s bully. Ricky and Zadie follow them, and Zadie feels like she is finally getting to know her brother. Then they see a shadow monster sneaking up on Carla and Josh. Zadie puts her new practicing to work and dispatches it. But when she talks to Angela about it, Angela tells her it’s not the only monster around – shadow Ricky is not really her brother.
DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING!
Shadecraft #4 opens with Zadie’s reaction to Angela’s pronouncement. To no one’s surprise, Zadie insists that Ricky is real and is her brother. The only reason Angela thinks otherwise is that she hasn’t seen powers quite like Zadie’s before, so this must be something new. But Ricky steps up and says he can’t live a life where he isn’t really living and asks her to disperse him. She won’t do it.
Angela then offers to take Ricky with her. She knows where there are more people with shadecraft, and maybe they can help him. Ricky steps away, saying this is Zadie’s chance to have a normal life.
Zadie arrives home to find her parents waiting for her. She isn’t in trouble; in fact, her parents say that she was right about something. She was right that keeping Ricky at home in the vain hope that he would miraculously wake up was too much, and they have moved him to another facility. On top of losing Ricky as a shadow, this is too much for Zadie.
The following evening at dinner, Zadie asks her parents why they gave up on Ricky. Considering that this is a one-eighty for her, her mother calls her out on it. This has been rough on her too, and now she feels like she cannot win with her daughter. As they argue, shadows start to build around them and it is Zadie’s father (Stephen) who gets their attention and points out that they were both doing it. Her mother tries to wave it off, but Zadie asks if she can do shadecraft too. This is a marvelous twist, and it isn’t even halfway through the book.
It turns out that Zadie’s mom was recruited by Angela Owens years ago. She worked for her for several years, and then found out they would not let her leave, so she ran from the Agency. She has been trying to lead a normal life ever since and trying to stay hidden. I think it is very sweet that her husband knows about her shadows even though he is just a normal guy.
The family goes to the nursing home where Ricky is, or rather, where he was supposed to be. They have no record of him. Angela must have taken him. As they wonder why, Zadie tells them about Ricky’s appearance as a shadow. What if Ricky is a shadow because he, too, has this ability? They decide to try to find him. This takes them to a nearby government base, where they have a delightful three-way argument about who gets to go in and who has to stay in the car.
ADDING A NEW DIMENSION
Shadecraft #4 really hits some emotions hard, and the art backs this up beautifully. The whole opening sequence where Zadie has to say good-bye to Ricky (something she has probably been dreading and avoiding for the past year already) is heart-wrenching. What you see on her face is echoed by the outline of his shadow, for he is a two-dimensional shadow here. And after she arrives home, there is a poignant panel of her in Ricky’s now empty room. The viewpoint is from above so we see the entire room and how devoid it is of any trace of him anymore.
The other sequence I particularly love is at dinner. Zadie and her mother are at opposite ends of the table, and Stephen is in the middle. The view of the table is static over several panels. Zadie hunches over her food with her hair falling to hide her face. Her parents are trying, as parents do, to act normally. As the argument heats up, we see the corners and then the sides of the panel darken more and more. The two women are so focused on each other that they don’t see what they are doing, and it takes Stephen, the neutral referee, to point it out.
BOTTOM LINE: A COMPLETE CHANGE IN FOCUS
Shadecraft #4 takes the original set up, which has already had a couple twists along the way, and throws it into an exciting new direction. It adds so much to the story that it is about the entire family, not just Zadie, and now I am really dying to see where this goes next!
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Zadie gains some control over her shadows, but her life is falling apart.