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Shadecraft #5 Review - End of 1st Arc!

No spoilers for issue #5; possible spoilers for issues #1 - #4

Shadecraft is one of those books that started off slow enough to drop, but curious enough to give another shot - and if you gave it another shot as I did, can I get a HELL YEAH?! We did it! We made a great choice and wow is it validating!

This is a book that could easily be turned into a TV Show (which, guess what, it IS! Thank god it’s Netflix and not The CW). This last issue of the first arc proves that to me. This issue reads like the season finale of the first season of a TV show. It has everything you want in it- real stakes, action that you’ve been ITCHING to see and are finally getting, moments that define different characters’ morality and truth, themes of family and working together- it’s exactly what I wanted and more!

Real Stakes

Now, I know what you’re thinking- are there REAL stakes here? Do we really think any of the characters were going to die, get injured, something horrible was going to happen that we wouldn’t be sure could be undone, etc? Honestly, I did! Every second feels like a finale. Each step you’re wondering how far the mother is going to go, how far Zadie herself is going to go, and whether or not they will get the brother’s body back- as long as he IS actually real, right? I was left turning each page as quickly as possible because I HAD to get answers and I HAD to see what was going to happen next. No matter how good the art was, I had to know if everything was going to be okay first… and then I could go back and focus on the art later :) No spoilers because let me tell you… shit does hit the fan for a bit!

Action That You’ve Been Itching To See

With real stakes (or at least, real-er stakes) comes real action, and it’s about damn time! It’s so cool to see how Shadecraft is actually used in an action scenario and how they use shadows to fight. It’s like its own form of magic, its own specialized category of witchcraft, and my god the art of the shadows encompassing different people? Absolutely mind-blowing! If you’ve been itching for the action to kick in this book, it’s finally here and it’s worth all the build-up!

Moments That Define Different Characters’ Morality and Truth

In any good season finale, there are moments where a character’s morality is tested, where they are pushed to the brink and could go over the edge… OR they could still do the “right” thing. Here there are moments like this for one character in particular that I would have never guessed, and this surprising character of choice helps make it that much more satisfying to read. Moments like these are what defines a character as a “hero”; these are part of what makes characters like Superman, Captain America, and Wonder Woman some of the greatest heroes of all time. No matter how tough the situation is, no matter how much the “darkness” consumes them (or shadows in this case), they almost always do the right thing when it matters most. I loved how they included the theme of not giving into the shadows completely, but rather learning how to use them to help others. Utterly brilliant!

Themes of Family and Working Together

At the end of the day, Shadecraft is a book about family first and foremost. No matter what

supernatural craziness they get into, no matter what other characters are introduced, it all comes back to the Lu family. I think this is why Shadecraft is most similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me- sure, it doesn’t have vampires like Stake and, sure, it isn’t as quirky as Witchblood, but it IS the most family-oriented comic I’ve read with young-adult characters and supernatural elements- and THAT is the foundation of Buffy. Buffy was never a vampire show first or even a feminist show first, even though both those things are other hugely important aspects of that show; Buffy was always a family show first. I absolutely adore how this is so easily written into the tale of Shadecraft and it was so fun to see how the family comes together in the end.

I really appreciated the note at the end of this issue from writer Joe Henderson. Not only does it reassure us we will be getting more Shadecraft in the future- including on Netflix as a show- but it reassures us that we will be getting it in more comic arcs too! Unfortunately, we will just have to wait a while, as both Henderson and Lee Garbett (artist on Shadecraft) will be busy for a while. Which, amazing for them, but horrible for us to wait, am I right???

If you aren’t reading Shadecraft yet, or you dropped it after issue one, I DARE you to read all the way to the end of this first arc and tell me that you honestly didn’t enjoy it. I DARE you. Pick it up, what have you got to lose? You either get a really great book you love, or you get to be right. It’s a win-win!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi gives this:

5 out of 5 Finger Guns

(because I'm bi)

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