(Image: DC Comics)

DC’s Young Animal imprint made its big debut with last month’s Doom Patrol #1, a very strange new take on the Doom Patrol property that felt more like a classic Vertigo book than most of the actual new Vertigo titles released in the last few years. The Young Animal weirdness keeps coming with this week’s Shade, The Changing Girl #1, which takes inspiration from both the DC and Vertigo iterations of Shade, The Changing Man as it tells the story of an alien inhabiting the body of 16-year-old bully. Writer Cecil Castellucci’s extensive work exploring female adolescence in both prose and comics makes her particularly well suited for this new interpretation of Shade, but these preview pages show that she’s also fully embracing the peculiarity of the concept and the vast storytelling opportunities it creates.

Artist Marley Zarcone and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick are a phenomenal team to bring Castellucci’s ideas to the page, and this preview highlights how the visuals reflect the intensifying chaos of Loma Shade’s arrival on Earth. There’s a brief moment of stillness as Shade enters Megan’s comatose body, but everything around her becomes animated when she opens her eyes and psychedelic elements enter the art when she starts moving. One of the most exciting things about this excerpt is how the art team differentiates between Earth and Shade’s home planet of Meta, and Marley and Zarcone get to experiment with designs, patterns, textures, and palettes when the story jumps to another dimension. That visual experimentation starts to bleed into Earth as Shade gets situated in Megan’s body, and readers can discover more of this surreal superhero tale when Shade, The Changing Girl #1 hits stands this Wednesday.

Image: DC Comics; cover by Becky Cloonan
Image: DC Comics; variant by Tula Lotay
Image: DC Comics; variant by Duncan Fegredo

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Image: DC Comics
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Image: DC Comics
Image: DC Comics