running off to the great blue
What's Going On?
Crazy zoo in the coma ward. The cutest tiger. Where did she get those glasses? Mom and Dad really wanted to pull that plug. A blob man smoking a scarf after having sex with a bird woman. Suburban trees have eyes. I do not think these people know the definition of skinny dipping. Three blackbirds on the house ... three for a girl. Synchronized swimming is pretty hardcore. Loma Shade can vomit psychedelic bedsheets. She's new to being human, so she doesn't know that you're supposed to cut your hair over a sink. Teenaged boy with a telescope spies on the neighbor girl cliche. Turn your family into zombies ... that will quiet the dog down. Loma's gone and nobody misses her. OK, those last two pages are teen horror gold. Three pages of Cryll? Why?
How's the Writing?
Like Doom Patrol, this is a Young Animal reboot of a series that I loved back in the 1990s. Cecil Castellucci follows Peter Milligan's basic premise of Shade inhabiting the body of a terrible person, except instead of a serial killer, it's a mean girl. Unlike a lot of decompressed storytellers, she chooses to reveal the full story of how Loma Shade arrived on Earth and how Megan Boyer ended up in a coma ward in the first issue, meaning that the second issue can really hit the ground running. Castellucci's good at suggesting a lot of things in a minimum of space, which is good for a first issue. That said, the whole nature of Loma's "madness" power isn't very clear. Are the things surrounding her physical manifestations or just hallucinations that people are having? Why aren't the police getting involved with whatever crazy thing is happening at the hospital?
How's the Art?
Marley Zarcone is given a lot of interesting things to draw and a story about madness shouldn't look too coherent. That said, it was rather difficult to follow one panel to the next. Best detail that most people won't notice: there's a close-up of four girls wearing bathing caps and Zarcone gave each of them a distinctive nose and mouth shape. Lots of artists would just draw four teenage girls with identical faces and different hairstyles.
Wait, There's a Bonus Story?
Natalia Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez do a three-page back-up story featuring Cryll and Space Ranger. Honestly, this isn't the sort of thing I'm usually interested in, but deep nostalgics might like it. Imagine if the Love and Rockets team did Legion of Super-Heroes backup features in the 1970s. Yeah, that obscure.
Buy, Wait for the Trade, or Skip?
At the moment, I really don't know if I'd recommend forking over $3.99 for this issue. If you're a fan of the Peter Milligan version of the character, you might find some of the shout-outs interesting, but this is already going in a different direction than what he was doing. Honestly, as a forty-two year-old man, I may not be the target audience for this thing. If you're a fan of Cartoon Network, this is probably something you could get into. Otherwise, I'd recommend waiting for the trade.