Writer: Joe Henderson
Artist: Lee Garbett
Color Artist: Antonio Fabela
Publisher: IMAGE COMICS
We all grow up learning to fear the dark and then eventually grow out of that. Right? Well, high-schooler Zadie Lu is learning to be very afraid of the dark once again in Shadecraft #1. Let’s see just what frights the young girl finds herself in this new comic.
So, the comic gets straight to its selling point: killer shadows. The comic doesn’t incrementally build up to the shadow attacks or anything, instead it builds up the threat of this phenomenon as the character experiences it. So readers see and learn more about the attacking shadows as Zadie Lu does. Speaking of which, the character is introduced as an impulsive young teen prone to quick action with little planning which leads to hilarity and awkward moments with others.
Henderson and Garbett do a great job capturing her emotional reactions to the living shadows, and how Zadie chooses to handle the weird occurrence is also in line with what the comic gives readers. There is a problem when it comes to a certain point in the comic where it has a huge exposition dump. It doesn’t feel organic to the story, though it does inform the readers about a certain part of Zadie’s life. More will be explained in the Spoilers section.
Garbett and Fabela do an excellent work on the characters who look great and distinguished from each other and do a fine job with the locations. Their biggest accomplishment is their work on the shadows and the shadow monsters themselves. They really make them look like menacing nebulous monsters of pure darkness. They’re never given a clear form, they’re very amorphous and the way the shadows move around Zadie makes them almost feel playful as if they’re taunting her.
By the end, the comic does give readers something of a solid cliffhanger but there’s little build up or hints towards the reveal. If anything the big reveal at the end reminded this reviewer of a certain game, which I will also go into in Spoilers. Overall, it’s a nice introduction to a new comic series but it feels incomplete as not much happens beyond that. Hopefully the second issue progresses the story forward.
So, one of the things this comic does is committed 2 entire pages to exposition that is meant to display the relationship Zadie has with her older brother. Mind you, her older brother is in a coma. What’s more, the pages give almost everything readers need to know such as his life in high school, how got into a coma, and his dynamic with his young sister. Thankfully, this isn’t done like Bendis’ style of congested word balloons filling the space of each and every panel they’re in.
The second thing is that the big revelation by the end is that her brother is now a shadow protecting Zadie from the attacking shadows. This revelation already gives me vibes of the video game Beyond: Two Souls that starred the present Elliot Page who was connected to an invisible spirit called Aiden. In that game the duo combated monstrous spirits as well. Hopefully, this story turns out better than the game’s story.
Shadecraft #1 wastes no time digging into its core concept as it introduces readers to its protagonist and monsters right off the bat. There’s a lot of introduction here, little story progression, but it leaves a solid impression. The art is good and the artists really made the characters and shadow monsters look great. It’s worth checking out.