“That bastard will never touch me again. That bastard will never touch me again.”
Back in November I reviewed Structural Integrity #1 from Portland small-press publisher Wealth of Ideas. That comic presented a fun mystery that was an intriguing read.
Shadow is a very different book from Structural Integrity. This book is the brutal story of Chi Dow, a young girl who finds herself endlessly tortured as she moves from juvenile hall to a series of foster homes. Every stop along the way Chi is tormented by the foster parents and fellow prisoners she is forced to live with.
We witness Chi tormented abused in juvenile hall, suffering two completely horrific experiences there and actually finding some respite due to a a spell in solitary confinement. The events she lives through are hideous. Yet the fact that Chi does live through these experiences will hopefully help make her an more interesting and multifaceted woman later in the series.
Chi’s life in this episodeis brutal and nasty, seemingly filled almost to bursting with violence and unrelenting horror which is extremely difficult read about. And as the comic proceeded, I felt real pain watching this girl being forced to live unmerciful, almost inhumane life of horrific brutality and sadism. She is forced to embrace violence because it is pervasive in the world she is forced to live in.
Shadow starts with a nasty killing and contains a lot of brutality throughout the series, but all the violence helps the reader to understand why Chi is forced to embrace the very violence that consumes her. It’s clear that this is a story that writer Benjamin Moore is itching to tell. Chi’s life is horrible, but there’s a feeling throughout the book that Moore really feels a need to share this story with his readers.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a feeling that this book is an amateur project. PJ Taylor’s art is full of passion, but it has a sketchy style and the story was often hard to follow. Taylor doesn’t draw a lot of backgrounds in his art, which unfortunately serves to distance the reader from the story being told. A reader can see what Taylor has planned with his art, but the execution isn’t nearly as compelling as Taylor would like it to be.
This is an interesting amateur comic that’s told with passion and energy. These creators are still working to improve their craft, but this is exactly the sort of ambitious, independent small-press work that deserves your support.
For more about this comic, click here