Skip to main content

Shadecraft #1 Review: YA Adventure That Promises Terror and Family Feels

I did not expect to get emotional over shadows.

Shadecraft Comic by Joe Henderson and Lee Grabett.

I’ve only had Zadie Lu for one issue in Shadecraft, and I already would protect her from the world. Seriously, she’s funny, kind, and a bit of a smart-ass. She’s also a 16-year-old trying to figure out the woes of love, where she fits in school, and family dynamics. Typical, right? The only difference is that shadows around her are trying to kill her, in a world created by writer Joe Henderson and artist Lee Garbett.

Yes, you read that right. Shadows. *flicks on light*

At first, she just thinks it’s her mind playing tricks on her in this immersive world built on darkness and startling pops of color. But when a shadow jabs at her and leaves three holes in her jacket, she knows that something is up. And instead of ignoring it or acting like there’s something normal with shadows coming after her, Zadie leans into it. She doesn’t think that she’s seeing things. She trusts herself, and that makes all the difference for this young hero and how we relate to her.

Zadie even trusts herself and the relationship she has with her best friend Kate to actually tell her the truth, as well. Her friend doesn’t really believe her, considering the things that are happening to Zadie at home, but she worries about her. This makes me hope that, later on, her friend will be involved in Zadie’s adventures because I love dynamic duos and badass female heroes who stick together.

The problems plaguing Zadie at home hit you right in the feels. Her brother Ricky is in a coma after an accident. And Zadie, well, she just wants her annoying, talkative, and brilliant older brother to come back to her and her family. The fact that Zadie’s mother is so protective of Ricky and his progress when Zadie jokes about him is a clear sign that there’s more to tell about this family and that Henderson is invested in the horror and heart of Shadecraft.

This family is in distress, just waiting for their son to come back. And in the midst of that tragedy, it makes me want to invest in all parts of their lives as a means of knowing more. It also makes me wonder if Zadie had something to do with it and how their family dynamics were before tragedy struck, which we get a clue of when Zadie talks about how things have changed at school since she became “the girl with the brother in a coma.”

What happened when the shadows came after her almost broke my heart. Yes, it was terrifying, and yes, the art by Lee Garbett was absolutely amazing, horrifying, and slightly disturbing. But what really stuck out to me was the way that Zadie’s shadow fought for her and how Zadie fought for herself. It’s a promising start to a hero’s adventure that we can’t wait to see more of in the pages of Shadecraft and when it hits screens at Netflix.

(image: Image Comics)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.