Image Comics' Shadecraft Vol. 1 Comic Review

People who fear their shadow and think it will harm them suffer from Sciophobia. When a small-town teenager starts fearing her shadows coming to life, she believes she suffers from that same phobia. But what she doesn't know is within her resides the power to manipulate shadows, and when they react to her negative thoughts, they create horrific monsters. Such raw power can wreak havoc, and in the wrong hands, it can destroy the world. In Shadecraft Vol. 1, writer Joe Henderson and artist Lee Garbett take Zadie and her family on a journey that strengthens their familial bond as they veer away from shady government agents.

Shadecraft tells the story of Zadie Lu, a teenager going through the motions of life with seemingly nothing going right. Since her brother went into a coma, Zadie's high school life has become miserable. What makes matters worse is her shadow takes the form of a monster and attacks her. Thankfully, the shadow of her brother saves her. Together, the siblings fight off the monster. Determined to understand her powers and confused whether her brother's shadow is a figment of her imagination or not, Zadie starts her own investigation.

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Thanks to Joe Henderson (Lucifer), Shadecraft is a well-crafted story that combines supernatural horror with teen drama to concoct a genre-bending tale consisting of romantic misadventures and emotional reconciliation. Henderson portrays the plight of a seemingly ordinary high schooler well and fittingly turns her into the hero of her own story by the end of the book. By placing the focus solely on Zadie, it's easy to slip into the world of Shadecraft.

Artist Lee Garbett (Death of Doctor Strange) and colorist Antonio Fabela have collaborated with Henderson before on their beloved comic series Skyward. Garbett gives this book an abundance of teen energy. His lines create detailed backgrounds with scene after scene of expressive faces that showcase drama well. The monstrous shadows surrounding the protagonist give off a claustrophobic vibe, aptly representing Zadie's predicament and her newfound powers. Fabela does an excellent job of emphasizing the vibrant world of Shadecraft -- albeit with shadowy undertones. His deft use of soft and hard shadows -- with a tint of blue -- creates depth that deepens the story's central conflict.

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Shadecraft Volume 1 at its heart is a tale of fortitude against tremendous adversities. Zadie's transformation from an anxious teenager into a confident character is an empowering origin story. Henderson gradually builds the world, and the progression of events feels natural. The plot has an interesting beginning, a shocking reveal in the middle, and a thrilling climax that gives a cinematic effect to the comic book. Smartly written and splendidly drawn, Shadecraft Volume 1 is a great read from start to finish.

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Sayantan Gayen (57 Articles Published)

Sayantan is a comic book fan based in India who loves good storytelling more than anything else. His power to bore people to death with Kaiju lore is only rivaled by his love for books and movies. He has a master's degree in Energy Tech and loves to watch soccer. You can take a gander at his artworks here: @kenichikyuro

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