Gerard Way has hit many aspects of pop culture media from being the lead in a little band called My Chemical Romance to being the curator behind the newest DC Comics imprint, Young Animal. I’ve been reading the three comics currently in the imprint, Shade, The Changing Girl, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye, and Doom Patrol, (with Mother Panic coming up later this month). I have to admit, the imprint has some of the most exciting work I’ve read in the DC Universe in quite some time and each of the stories provides you with a new look at some of the universe’s strangest people.
This month is the release of Shade, The Changing Girl issue 2 and while I didn’t review the first one, I will probably follow up this review with that one. The issue begins where the previous left off, with Loma,a girl from the planet Meta, stealing the madness coat and changing into the human girl Megan Boyer, who has just woke up from a coma. Megan wasn’t the school’s most well-liked student and is in fact despised by many of her peers due to her manipulative personality. Loma, now wanting to be referred to as Shade, (due to the coat belonging to her favorite poet Rac Shade), tries to understand life on Earth but is unimpressed with all of their ‘primitive’ and ‘elementary’ technology.
The madness that embeds the coat follows Shade as she tries to make sense of the human world around her. She refuses to use the technology around her, like phones and computers, and is constantly dozing off in the expanse of this new world. She realizes that she has the ability to understand, or at least sort of understand, the relationships that she had with her former classmates and decides whether or not to keep talking to them accordingly. Her former boyfriend is ignored completely regardless of his confidence in getting her back and she realizes that the ‘friends’ she had on the swim team hate her.
She finds her way into the library where another acquaintance of her makes it clear that she doesn’t like her. However, Shade manages to find some kind of link between them that lets her know that this girl doesn’t hate her. But, she ruins her chance and the girl runs off. In the library, she meets a boy named River who she discovers is her new neighbor from before she fell into a coma. She decides to befriend him in the only way she knows how to and then spends the rest of her time trying to understand this new world that she put herself in.
The book is very strange and depicts the beginnings of the changes that Shade will be going through with the madness coat. It also depicts the actual dangers that the coat produces as Loma’s friend on Meta, Lepuck Lado, hides the truth from those looking for it.
This issue paves the way for the possible human wonders that Shade will discover and how she will display them to those who once knew her. Of course, there isn’t anything in the way of Megan’s life, being presumably dead, or just what Shade plans to do with her new knowledge but that’s the exciting part; this comic leaves almost everything Shade says up to interpretation. Everything Shade says is simply just a blurb in her mind as she tries to do anything on Earth but those blurbs are a collection of everything that everyone normally takes for granted because we experience them every day. She has a scene in her shower where she comments on the feeling of water and how she enjoys it however that wouldn’t necessarily be something that we would talk about.
However, the dialogue and thought process of Shade is sometimes jumbled and doesn’t always reflect on any actual thing that you see within the pages. in most cases, she is just talking to herself about feeling and understanding but to readers, it just seems like mindless garbage. Hopefully, these random thoughts will become something relatively coherent soon so that the comic can appeal to more than just those that think deeper than most.
Shade, The Changing Girl issue 2 opens up the imagery that spreads throughout the idea of an alien trying to figure out life on Earth. It is interesting and uplifting as Shade tries to understand things, despite her possible motives towards those she seems to resonate with. This issue opens up many possibilities for Shade’s life and introduces characters that resonate with Megan negatively to pave what their motives towards her could be. It’s an exciting entry in the Young Animal imprint and hopefully a pathway to a more immersive story. Hopefully, the comic will sort of walk its way around the dialogue and focus on Shade’s new life rather than just her thoughts however the comic as it is is a fantastic read.
4.0 / 5.0