Zadie’s present is her mother’s past. The two of the join forces to get Ricky back from Angela. Will they succeed? Find out in Shadecraft #5 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: July 21, 2021
Previously in Shadecraft: Angela claims that the shadow Ricky is not real. Zadie insists that he is. Ricky doesn’t want to take over her life and asks his sister to disperse him. She won’t, but Angela offers to take Ricky with her. Zadie goes home and learns that her parents have made the decision to move Ricky to another facility. Later, when Zadie argues with her parents about this, shadows form about her and her mother, and her father points this out. Zadie’s mother can do shadecraft, and she was recruited by Angela years ago, until she decided to break free and have a life of her own. But what about Ricky? The family goes to visit him and finds the nursing home has no record of him. He may be at a nearby government base, though.
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Shadecraft #5 opens on the base where Zadie and her mother surprise two guards, distracting them with a shadow monster and destroying their walkie talkies. At the door to the base, Zadie’s mother uses a shadow to go through the wall to let Zadie in. Their shadecraft allows them to take out more guards along the way, although there are some cute moments where Zadie is a little immature and her mother scolds her. There is a lot of affection among this family, and it shines through, which gives the book a wonderful flavor.
Angela is on base in the control room. The guard watching the monitors doesn’t expect to see anything unusual, so seeing a fleeting shadow here and there doesn’t register with him. Angela, however, is on her guard, and she orders the lead car to leave immediately. Zadie and her mother break in and demand Ricky back. The mother can see and hear Ricky now, and Zadie tells him that he is real, and that Angela lied to all of them so she could take him. Angela counters by telling Ricky his parents gave up on him and sent his body away. She plays on his fear that he was a burden on his family, and as his anguish turns him into a shadow monster, Angela gets away.
Zadie’s mother goes after Angela, who leads her into a light room where her shadecraft will not work. Here they confront their issues. Angela feels like Zadie’s mother abandoned her, and after she left, Angela’s whole team was disbanded. She feels like she has lost everything in life, and does not acknowledge that Zadie’s mother was looking for a life and a family of her own.
Zadie has learned that shadecraft feeds off emotions, and Ricky’s shadow is here because of his ability to do shadecraft revealing itself. She does her best to calm him, to get through to him the need to control himself. He tries to send her away, but he is family. She sticks with him. He kept her safe all those years; the least she can do is to be there for him and try to keep him safe now. Then Zadie comes upon her mother about to kill Angela and convinces her not to.
But Angela claims she has sent Ricky’s body to an unknown destination, and if they want him back, they will both have to work for her. But as it so happens, Stephen manages to save the day, or at least stop them from getting away with Ricky’s body. There is a bit more to the story, including setting up for another arc, and I hope we see one. I enjoyed the way the story kept adding levels of surprise, and I really liked seeing this family come together with true affection, even while they have some contention.
OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND INTO THE LIGHT
It seems that the art has been building all along, so it all comes together here in Shadecraft #5. The shadows that Zadie and her mother work with do look like shadows, but they also appear fearsomely three dimensional. They look legitimately monstrous. I liked how the shadecraft was often linked to actual normal shadows and I thought the way Zadie’s mother could create portals in shadows is really cool. As Ricky lets his shadows get the better of him, he gets huge and the art does well playing with the scale between him and his sister, making him look seriously dangerous.
In contrast, it was clever to see Angela lead Zadie’s mother into a room that was overwhelmingly bright. The use of light against shadecraft was set up early on, even before we understood what Zadie was doing with her shadows. Despite the washed-out colors, the art comes through in these panels, especially the expressions on the women’s faces. This conversation and their anger leads to how Zadie’s mother finds the elusive shadow in the room, which was quite clever.
BOTTOM LINE: A NEW BEGINNING CAN BE A LOVELY ENDING
Shadecraft #5 gives us a triumphant open ending to the story. There are some moments in here that truly feel good, and some of the tragedy it opened with has resolved. It feels complete and satisfying, but I like that there is a hint of potential for more because the premise still intrigues me.
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Zadie and her family unite and work together to get Ricky back.