For many fans of DC Comics the normal pick up from the comic book shop is an issue of BATMAN, SUPERMAN, or if you’re like me — GREEN LANTERN(S). Young Animal was reintroduced to us in 2016 with a new goal of giving a mature read with a shared theme along all titles being “the relationships between parents and children” as well as bullying, change, and drug use. Young Animal is overseen by Vertigo‘s Jamie S. Rich (group editor) and Mark Doyle (executive editor) who are using a new and (one could say) risky approach to related titles to reach their targeted audience.
Enter SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL, a series that all but subtly walks into your mind and introduces madness itself as both a protagonist and antagonist in the very first issue.
We follow LOMA, a student on planet meta who wishes to follow in the steps of a mad poet named RAC SHADE. Growing bored of her life, she convinces her part-time lover to help her acquire through what I am sure are less than legal means, the madness coat.
Upon donning the coat, Loma is then put into the body of MEGAN BOYER, a high-school bully in a coma after nearly drowning. Upon waking up, Megan — now possessed by Loma, is picked up to what seems is both awe and disappointment by her parents and taken home.
Through a series of flashbacks we see the then bully Megan in scenes of high-school skinny dipping, and showing how pills inevitably lead to the drowning induced coma. We see her boyfriend, and circle of friends filled with trepidation being around her.
They leave her, drugged and floating in the water to die. Upon finding that she is awake and alive, the issue begins to leave you with a sense that there is more wrong with her friendships than what she may expect when she returns to them, if she even should.
Overall this issue hits you hard with drug use, bullying, sex, and alcoholism. The overtone of what seems like alien magic or technology gives a touch of mystery, and an out of world feel to what are very common and very human issues many reading the comic probably experience. Having a woman from another world possess Megan and begin to try to understand earth while not yet knowing what’s to come, or having known whats happened to Megan is a very good tool in getting me to pick up issue #2.
The consequences of what this book touches on have been in many comics by many characters, but having a series dedicated to bringing these problems into the light in a very creative and puzzling format. I am surely hooked onto what becomes of our Loma/Megan dynamic and have a feeling that many, if they haven’t already, would be too. I look forward to seeing the message brought forward in this comic series as well as finding out if a woman from another world could truly understand the issues of Megan — if she even cares, and seeing how the friendships and family bonds of Megan change and evolve through the actions of the now Loma Shade.
What of you, dear reader? What do you think of SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL? Are there better series from Young Animal? Is this a stretch from true issues you face? Let us know!