Zadie learns to control her "Shadecraft" in issue #3 ADVANCE REVIEW

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

The new councillor explains that she actually works for the United States government. Her job is to track down people like Zadie and help them hone their abilities. She’s able to teach Zadie a little bit about “Shadecraft” and how it’s all based on negative emotions. This is what’s manifesting the shadow monsters. She doesn’t want Zadie to go back to being ordinary, she wants her to be extraordinary. However with training may come some harsh truths that Zadie just isn’t ready for.

We are now 3 issues into the series and Joe Henderson has taken this to a place that I wasn’t expecting. Whereas in the last issues it was about the mental stress of family life and losing a loved one, this issue lays the groundwork for a “superhero team up.” I’m very much hoping that I’m wrong about that, as this would be a drastic change of pace for what was a very thought-provoking and heartfelt story. This could be a ruse within the story, and a way to develop the new character of the councillor/agent of the as-yet-unnamed organisation. This could be another way to cause emotional pain on Zadie. One thing that this does suggest, is that I’m wrong about Ricky being a part of her subconscious as up until now, no other character has acknowledged him.

Other than the pace, I enjoyed the writing of this issue. This was the first issue where it actually felt like a school situation, with Zadie making a comment about having to handle her emotions is difficult, as she’s a teenager. The relationship struggles of school are brought out more here, and it really rounds off the characters. Joe Henderson seems to have hit a good pace where you can get action and teen drama in perfect harmony. It also doesn’t help that there’s a pop culture reference that made me smile. When Zadie is being taught about Shadecraft, the councillor says “Wax on, wax off, Daniel San,” from The Karate Kid (Avildsen 1984), when Daniel has to learn the basics of movement in ordinary ways, before he is able to learn karate.

As much as i enjoy the script of this series, the art and the colours are truly fantastic. Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela respectively are clearly enjoying themselves, and working to such a high standard. The whole series so far has been about the different shadows, mixing light with dark. This happens here but it’s heightened with Zadie ability to control it. We get some masterful concepts, that as I said before remind me of German expressionist cinema. Add on top of that the beautiful colours, which haven’t been seen much but up until now, the ability to craft something out of just light and dark colours is wonderful. Now we have this beautiful panel really showcasing the colours and it’s glorious. This is wonderfully contrasted by the next few panels which are based around the shadows.

Overall this was a really good issue, it makes me question the direction of the book, but I have faith in the creative team to deliver.

Shadecraft issue 3 will be released on 26th May from Image Comics, your local comic shop, as well as comixology

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