In this week's issue of the newly relaunched Shade The Changing Woman, DC/Young Animal continue Shade's latest bizarre journey, as the alien-girl is alien no longer, but struggling to find her place on Earth. It's an issue packed with the usual dark and emotionally raw moments, but that doesn't mean that writer Cecil Castellucci can't find the time to take a stab at the new America President Donald Trump has helped form.
In the past two issues of Shade The Changing Woman (the new title to replace Shade The Changing Girl), Shade has been dealing with the fallout from the crossover event between DC and Young Animal, 'Milk Wars'. The event, which relaunched the Young Animal line, saw Shade coping with a huge amount of human emotion - and now that she's left her alien form behind to become human, she is struggling with the hangover from it all.
While her friends are moving on with their lives, Shade is dealing with the original Shade The Changing Man, caught in a trippy, psychedelic world within herself where she attempts to confront everything that she is feeling... and is about to take drastic measures to do so.
Shade The Changing Woman #3 opens with Shade literally ripping her heart out of her chest, rather than deal with the pain and loss that she is feeling - but this could be bad news for her and her friends, as her existential crisis isn't the only crisis on this Earth. In addition, aliens are using a new 'drug' called Folly to drive people mad, to push the world over the edge and feed it to the cray... and that gives Castellucci a perfect opportunity to make fun of the rise of Donald Trump's notion of "fake news."
As Shade starts to adapt to being heartless, 'folly' is getting bigger as a street drug, and a news report covers a house fire that began from one such drug lab. As one of the characters involved is being led out of the house on live television, their appearance is twisted to the point of resembling a Picasso - ranting madly about culture as a "parasite." An agent in a hazmat suit leading him away tries to explain away the bizarre appearance by claiming the drug creates mass hallucinations, even though the information is impossible to believe.
Nevertheless, the news anchors openly admit that the world they now occupy is not the one they ever expected to cover. While not explicitly criticizing President Donald Trump's administration, the scene offers commentary on the accusations of "fake news," and the deeper mistrust of government officials. It's not possible for a drug to create hallucinations through a camera, but the government agent dealing with the situation is willing to claim it with a straight face, leaving the anchor in search of the truth unsure how to react.
It may be a throwaway line in a comic book, but it's not the first time the Trump era has been spotlighted in DC books (like Dark Knight III: Master Race above). But add in Shade's ongoing drama involving an "anti-alien agency," and this all builds towards some brilliant political commentary that throws some real... shade.
Shade The Changing Woman #3 is available now from DC Comics.