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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Shade, the Changing Man
Volume 1
The American Scream


Author: Peter Milligan
Artists: Chris Bachalo and Mark Pennington
Titan Books
RRP: £13.99, US $17.95
ISBN: 978 1 84856 500 5
Available 18 December 2009

A strange visitor from the dimension of Meta, Rac Shade has been given the task of trying to stem the growing tide of Earth's insanity, which has created an interdimensional "Area of Madness" threatening both Meta and Earth with chaos. But upon breaching the barrier between worlds, Shade is trapped in the body of serial killer Troy Grenxer and finds himself on the run from the law as an escaped murderer. Unable to return home, Shade must rely on the help of the one person crazy enough to believe his story - Kathy George, the daughter of Grezner's last victims - as he heads towards a confrontation with the growing embodiment of national psychosis: The American Scream...

Shade, the Changing Man: Volume 1 - The American Scream collects together the first six issues of the Shade, the Changing Man comic book series originally printed in 1990.

This collection starts off Peter Milligan's reworking of the original '70s character created by Steve Ditko. Here we are introduced to the main players and then sent off on a 'who shot JFK?' mystery to easy us into the characters nice and slowly. Although, I have to admit that I thought the JFK story went on a little bit too long - Milligan seems to really milk the script for every last drop of goodness in a bid to pad out the pages.

This is followed by a bizarre tale involving the cast of a movie which is currently in production. As the madness takes hold we see hidden secrets from each actor's past come to light. The dynamics of the world we inhabit mean nothing, as everything turns into a twisted collection of movie scenes which defy logic.

While Milligan stretches the material to near breaking point, this is still an enjoyable series.


Darren Rea

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