In the futuristic, dystopian city of Dranac, moody teenager Scout Montana is an aspiring vigilante, but her first attempt to beat up a mugger is halted when she's hit in the head with a brick and knocked unconscious. When she awakens, she discovers that she's able to transform into a strange, blue, clawed, superhuman creature! In this new body she becomes the vigilante Shadoweyes... but, she's unable to return to her human form, and is lured into a homeless superheroic life on the streets by her inhuman appearance - forced outside of society yet still bound to it. Scout's new life as Shadoweyes is just getting started!
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*Starred Review* It would be insufficient to say that Shadoweyes is the most realistic graphic novel ever produced about an African American teenage girl in a future dystopia who mutates into a manga-style creature, becomes a superhero, and ends up rescuing a young girl from a zombie. Far out on the surface, the plot touches on many teen-relevant issues, such as politics, friendship, adolescence, responsibility, and loneliness. It also features a predominantly female African American cast and, with surprisingly comfortable ease, a transsexual character as well. The significance of that would be empty, of course, without the weight and believability of the story’s characters and relationships, and the heart-tugging emotions they sometimes produce. Most convincing is the sharp dialogue, which speaks with such familiar rhythms and sentiment that teens will swear it came out of their own mouths. The art, too, balances a sleek manga technique, credible future looks and grunge fashions, the grotesquerie of zombie flesh, and inventive page composition to sell a grimy future where crime and poverty have run rampant. Campbell (Water Baby, 2008) has combined many familiar elements into a unique whole, and though the ending satisfies, it promises a second volume that will be much anticipated. Grades 8-12. --Jesse Karp
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