Writing - 8/10
Art - 10/10
Overall - 9/10
Writer: Joe Henderson
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Image Comics
Maturity Rating: T
Release Date: March 31, 2021
It all begins here, in Shadecraft #1. Zadie’s life is far from normal, but things are about to get a lot worse as shadows begin to try to steal her life.
User Review( votes)
A Chilling Beginning in Shadecraft #1
What would you do, if you were afraid of your own shadow? That’s the reality that Zadie Lu lives in, and it all begins in Shadecraft #1. She’s a teenager, one with a few extra details to make her stand out from her classmates.
For one thing, her brother is in a coma. For another, she’s terrified of shadows. But she has good reason to be afraid. You see, those very shadows are trying to kill her. Not exactly a normal situation by any means, but one that she’s trying to survive.
This is the start of a new series brought to you by Joe Henderson (Lucifer’s showrunner), Lee Garbett (Captain Marvel), Antonio Fabela (Skyward), and Simon Bowland. It’s a bold start, and one that I would recommend to all fans of Skyward (and new fans as well, for that matter).
Shadecraft #1 begins like many a story surrounding teenagers. With unrequited love, awkwardness, and bullying. That is to say, Zadie Lu is pretty conflicted about how she feels right now and is going through quite a lot.
Joe Henderson captured and portrayed all of those elements smoothly, using them as the setting for Zadie’s story to take off from. From there, the world got pretty dark. Literally, as the case may be. Here is where he introduced the shadows, and their nefarious intents.
Despite everything shown so far, there are still a lot of questions revolving around Zadie, her family, and these shadows. Thus far, Henderson has done a solid job of balancing the show and tell issues while intentionally obfuscating a few parts, presumably for a more dramatic reveal later on.
You’d think shadows hunting her would be enough of a complication in her life. But you’d be wrong. This single issue shows that there is a hidden depth in Zadie’s life, one that I believe even she doesn’t understand. Not yet, at any rate.
Regardless of what she knows, it is going to be fascinating to see how the story unfolds from here. The conclusion to this issue was a bit uplifting, but also raises dozens more questions at the same time. One more reason to look forward to the second issue.
Shadecraft #1 features some truly memorable artwork. The cover alone is enough to capture attention—playing with light and shadows. It’s ironic how much of an implication readers can find, even on that very first page.
Lee Garbett‘s artwork is perfect for this story. The shadows feel dark and menacing, while the rest of the world is intentionally bright. The contrast is jarring and lends reason to Zadie’s concerns about her mental health. What is truly impressive, though, would have to be the amount of detail Garbett renders in those very shadows.
Naturally, Antonio Fabela‘s colors are a major part of the art here. The shadows gain depth depending on the light source and color palette that surrounds them. Likewise, they gain an edge when there’s an absence of light and color. It’s all very clever and would make for a stunning print or two.
Simon Bowland‘s letters are the final touch, bringing everything together in one cohesive fashion. The highlight here would have to be on the final few panels of this issue, where a sudden change is made/revealed.
Shadecraft #1 is a compelling start to this series. I know that I, personally, am already invested in Zadie’s story, and am eager to see how it all plays out from here. It looks like once again Image Comics has gotten their hands on a memorable series.
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