Family secrets are spilled in emotional Shadecraft #4 ADVANCE REVIEW


Written by: Joe Henderson, Illustrations by: Lee Garbett, Colours by: Antonio Fabela, Letters by: Simon Bowland.


After the revelation that Shadow Ricky might just be a manifestation of Zadie's shadow-controlling powers, Angela reassures Zadie that this is normal and she needs to let go for both her sake and for Ricky's. All while her mum and dad agree that they have also been holding onto false hope. So they had Ricky's comatose body moved to a safe place where he can get the attention he needs, however big family secrets are revealed and now Zadie is questioning Angela’s motives.


As I explained in my last review, this series has taken a new direction. Whereas I thought initially this series would be an in-depth character study on grief and loss, this has turned into more of a “superhero” story. The revelations about the family history support this more. Now although I was expecting something very different, it doesn’t take away the hard-hitting, emotional style of the writing. Each issue is able to deal more pain into both the reader and Zadie, this could only be accomplished by such talented writing. There are times during this issue where I felt the pain and anguish that Zadie did, and equally the frustration at the unfolding events. Although Writer Joe Henderson has in my opinion twisted away from what could have been a more hard hitting story, he is still able to stir up the emotions, which is still a main theme of the title.


The stress that’s being put on Zadie continues to grow as she learns more and more about the people around her. There’s an incredible page made up of four panels where Zadie and her parents are at the dinner table. The mix of writing (which consists of a few speech bubbles) and art, where Zadie doesn’t even lift her head up from her plate, really convey the stress and the built-up frustration that she’s feeling, along with the guilt and pain of her parents. It was masterfully crafted and such a hard -hitting emotional moment, one that the series is becoming known for.


This brings me to the artwork by Lee Garbett. Although there’s not as much shadow play, or for that matter, light and dark manipulation, it’s still a beautiful issue. The depth on each character's face is phenomenal. He is able to express so much emotion simply from body language, which is incredibly hard to do. We still get some great close-ups of faces, but as I explained above, to craft a page where the character's face is blocked and yet still able to convey all the hardship and struggles is nothing short of mastering the craft.

Lee Garbett’s art so far has been very impressive with the shadow creatures and the playful way he explores the light and dark, which as I’ve said in previous reviews are very reminiscent of German expressionist cinema. However this issue we go further than that, into the scenic beauty. As you can see above, we get more natural dusk light. Seeing as landscapes is one of my favourite things, I really enjoyed the array of colours on display in the dusk panels. It’s like he’s showing off that not only can he play with large grotesque shadow creatures, he can portray a calm, peaceful night sky that looks very picturesque.


Overall, despite the shift in the story over the last few issues, I’m still really enjoying the series. The expressive nature of the book is amazing. I can’t think of a current book at the moment that displays all kinds of human emotion from the written word and its artistic expression. It really does just get better and better.


Shadecraft issue 4 will be released from Image Comics on 23rd June from your local comic shop as well as comixology

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