Seasonal Shadows

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After an extremely active hiatus, Shadowgirls is back after a truly epic season finale brought the Lovecraftian mythos to a crashing halt – complete with a tsunami-sized tidal waved aimed at the heroes of David A. Rodriguez and Dave Reynolds’ highly popular webcomic.

Three months later, the premiere begins with a quirky but effective recap courtesy of the younger of the Shadowgirls, Rebecca Sue McKay. What makes this recap interesting is it is entirely from Rebecca’s perspective, and written entirely so – right down to complimenting her BFF Lindsay’s hair. Unlike say Heroes, which will most likely lay down most everything that has occurred in regards to its many, many characters, Shadowgirls’ opening narration gives a different account – one limited to Rebecca’s POV. Rebecca doesn’t know the enemy she’s fighting – Mother Hydra – is in fact her regular rival and bully Misty Snow, though she ironically hints as much with the words “And I thought Misty Snow was bad” written right under Mother Hydra’s picture. This recap reinforces the very characters responsible for Shadowgirls’ dynamic, while forcing the reader to check the archives for the whole story.

The story follows through with the heartfelt coming-of-age story for Rebecca’s best friend Lindsay. The transition is a bit jarring, especially since Rebecca is unaware of Lindsay’s situation, hence making exceptionally difficult for new or out-of-the-loop readers to jump into the story. Still, it’s the primal intensity which is consistent throughout the entire story so far, and that doesn’t let up from the first new page – although Rodriguez and Reynolds spend sufficient time encasing Lindsay’s character changing experience with deft prose and heartfelt realization.

The intensity translates into pure brutality in the current installments. The tidal wave have scattered the protagonists, and left the combined might of the Shadowgirl at Mother Hydra’s mercy. The McKays are in pretty sad shape, with their shadow-form beaten, bloodied and flayed, and the perspective from the literal flip-side isn’t too much better, easily capturing the monstrous scale straight out of H.P. Lovecraft. But as with Lindsay’s deep transition, the creators still succeed in framing the brutal beating with extraordinary character – like when Mother Hydra/Misty Snow compares love to a snake – and completes the metaphor by striking quickly through the Shadowgirl.

Shadowgirls has long been the webcomic to watch, but with the plot and pacing equally visceral and moving, the urgency has never been greater. With most TV shows starting to go on hiatus for a mid-year production break, Shadowgirls has some excellent timing, all while giving an adventure which puts prime-time TV to shame.  


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