REVIEW: 'Shadecraft' #3 by Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, and Antonio Fabela

 There's more to Zadie's powers than she realized. She's learning to take control of them and probably not a moment too soon. Is she the only one? Are there others like her? How will this affect her brother's shadow? Issue three of 'Shadecraft' reveals more about Zadie's powers. 


Writer: Joe Henderson

Artist: Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela

Letterer: Simon Bowland

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 26, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

Zadie has discovered the source of the shadows... and that they can be controlled. Dare she try and wield this incredible power? HELL YES she dares. And she's damn good at it, too! But when someone Zadie cares about ends up in danger because of her, the fun and games become a matter of life or death...


★★★★☆ (4/5)

'Shadecraft' shifts into another gear in issue three as Zadie learns that she can control her shadow powers. Turns out, the school therapist is really a government agent there to teach her how to control her powers. The series continues to be a charming supernatural teen adventure with engaging characters and whimsical powers. It's a great series for anyone but it's the perfect comic book series for young adult readers. 

Up to this point, Zadie has had a lot to deal with. Her brother's in a coma as a result of a car accident, she embarrasses herself kissing a boy from school, then she was convinced shadows were out to kill her. If that wasn't bad enough her brother returned in the form of a shadow and now helps her navigate the world. It's been an entertaining and exciting story so far because of the suspenseful nature of the unknown purpose of sentient shadows that lurk around. It's also been a mystery as to why Zadie seems like a lightning rod for these supernatural forces. That's where Agent Angela Owens comes in. 

Picking up where the last issue left off, Agent Owens explains she's there to help her with her powers. She's from a government agency tracking people with such powers and begins to train Zadie. It's a delightful session aimed for her to control her negative thoughts because they'll manifest into aggressive shadows. Owen's "wax on, wax off" explanation for the rudimentary drills baffles Zadie which is funny but heartbreaking for this Gen Xer who saw 'Karate Kid' in a theater in 1984. These lessons in "shadecraft" become vitally important later in the issue. 

Joe Henderson is a master of snappy dialogue and chemistry between characters. It's part of the reason 'Shadecraft' succeeds apart from the neat supernatural stuff. The arrival of Agent Owens really opens up the storytelling possibilities and makes Zadie much more of a heroic figure than a cursed seer of shadows. She gets her power back giving her agency and purpose. It also complicates things with her brother. This issue takes on the familiar arc of someone with newfound powers and training how to use them. It's a tried and true formula that's bulletproof because it works so well and it's fun. She's also needs to master these powers as something else still lurks out there in the world.

Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela continue to do some marvelous work on designing and coloring the series. Garbett's character designs are flawless but the emotional range he gives Zadie is exceptional. He captures all of her reactions and feelings with a million different expressions that speak for themselves. Fabela's colors are rich and warm throughout but there's definitely a color scheme coming from Zadie's wardrobe full of brownish-orangey hues that carry over to other parts of the scenery and lighting. Speaking of lighting, it's a crucial part of the story here and Fabela's ability to replicate photography lighting is spot-on. Garbett keeps doing wondrous things with shadows seemingly painted on the page. 

'Shadecraft' #3 brings some answers for Zadie and how she can control shadows instead of being a victim to them. It's a fun chapter that opens up the story in new ways that broadens the scope and stakes. Henderson's ability to make smart, thoughtful characters and Garbett/Fabela's moody and colorful art make 'Shadecraft' a treat for readers of all ages.  



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