REVIEW: 'Shadecraft' #1 by Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, and Antonio Fabela

 Zadie Lu is afraid of her own shadow. She's a teenager, so she REALLY should have grown out of it by now, right? But something weird is happening in her small town. Zadie could swear the shadows are coming to life. Watching her. Trying to KILL her. But how do you fight something you can't even touch? And how does all of this tie into her FAMILY, of all things?

  

From the creative team that brought you the Eisner-nominated SKYWARD, writer JOE HENDERSON (showrunner of Netflix's Lucifer) and artist LEE GARBETT (Captain Marvel). Join Zadie Lu as she ventures into the shadows to face her fears and discovers a legacy she never knew she had.

REGISTER PITCH: The dark tones of Demon Slayer and Something Is Killing The Children meets a cast of contemporary teen characters not unlike VERONICA FISH and KELLY THOMPSON's Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

SHADECRAFT #1

Writer: Joe Henderson

Artist: Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela

Letterer: Simon Bowland

Editor: Rick Lopez, Jr.

Variant Cover: Jock

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: March 31, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

Score:

★★★★☆ (4/5)

I'm not sure how Joe Henderson does it but he writes really good teenage characters and teenage girls no less. They're bright and funny with a strong sense of self, insecurities and all. Zadie Lu is precocious and impulsive but brave. It's all these qualities that not only make her endearing but necessary to deal with everything going on with her life. 

As if dealing with an awkward romantic misstep and a brother in a coma wasn't enough, Zadie is convinced that deadly shadows are out to kill her. She's not afraid to confide this to her best friend and it sets the stage for some ominous encounters with said shadows. Henderson creates a fast-paced story even with a conveniently composed chunk of exposition that frames Zadie's life story. It's the dialogue and narration that keeps it crisp and moving, Zadie is just so amiable even in the face of terror. 

That terror is delivered in style by artists Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela. With something as nebulous and common as shadows, Garbett bends and shapes this almost shapeless villain into an all-consuming monster. Only Zadie's smarts and perseverance can fight back total darkness. And this is where Garbett's abstract touch amplifies the supernatural nature of the shadows creating an insurmountable foe with the expertise of a master artist. 

Fabela colors define the day and night. A bright seemingly safe color palette paints the landscape and its inhabitants during the day but none shone brighter than Zadie. She's clearly the focal point and it shows as she's decked out in bright bold colors. The night belongs to the shadows and Fabela's moonlit blues defer to the darkness. The combination of design choices and colors makes this a joy to see as as it is to read. 

'Shadecraft' #1 is a deftly created supernatural adventure with an engaging heroine thrust into a mysterious battle against the shadows. The cliffhanger changes the stakes altogether taking readers on a whole new path filled with questions and new possibilities. No wonder it's being adapted for television.  'Shadecraft' should be on your pull-list, ASAP!


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