The end of the arc in a very light/dark contrasting issue of Shadecraft #5

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

Zadie and her mum are breaking into the government facility to get Ricky back. However Angela (Mrs Owens to Zadie, as she was her teacher) has a few tricks up her sleeve, to make sure that they aren’t able to take back Ricky’s shadow, and to enslave them to work for her.

So we have reached the end of the arc, and now we have a undetermined wait until the next issue. Joe Henderson explains in an afterword that they wrote this during the pandemic, and had no idea about the reaction or even the state of comics, once things go back to normal. He was delighted to say that they have had a great reception, but unfortunately with so many things unknown, he took a job for Netflix to adapt Shadecraft into a tv series. No surprise there, this was an obvious choice to be picked up, although not sure on any details, I think it would work better as an anime rather than a live action. Also Lee Garbett is now working with Marvel for Dr Strange, which is a great fit considering how much I’ve enjoyed his Shadow play (more about that later).

So the book has a fair amount to do to wrap up the first arc. For the most part it does a good enough job to conclude things. However there are some very interesting questions that remain. Like: can and does Zadie ever go back to that school? Why did they just let Angela go? What has the toll been on the family? They briefly skim over how they treated Ricky, but didn’t do much with it. How he felt like they just disregarded him when he needed them the most, this is something Angela says to him which makes him grow angry. Zadie and her mum say it’s a lie, yet when Angela says that Ricky wasn’t actually him, she just believed her.

Overall, it’s well written, with one sentence really hitting home at how accurate it was. Zadie says that she resented being in Ricky’s shadow due to his popularity at school. Meaning she was always metaphorically dwarfed by him, but now the roles are reversed. Ricky is now part of Zadie's shadow... literally. This I thought was very clever, and it showed how before now, Ricky was the one to save Zadie, but now she’s returning the favour.

The "light room"

When it comes to the art by Lee Garbett, it’s stunning as always. Even elevated, with the scale of the shadows. There are some stunning panels that have Zadie and Ricky the big shadow monster that look both stunning and frightening with how bulky he looks, yet still has spindly long tentacles coming off him. I love how the colours from Antonio Fabelaare muted but really accentuated the facial features of Ricky.

I also really like the "light room" that Angela created just so she could stifle Zadie and her mind powers. This complete contrast to the main aspect of the book was really interesting. It shows that the artistic team can not only give us some great German expressionist dark figures, they can also create atmosphere in a white-out room, where we can hardly see anything. This really showcases their talents for both dark and light features.

Overall, this was a good final issue to what’s been a series that went in a different direction than what I expected. Despite me wanting it to go a certain way, I’ve enjoyed the arc, and I hope that we get to see the team and the series back soon.

Shadecraft issue 5 will be released by Image Comics on 21st July from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology

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