Anamaria Falcone 18’ / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Story By: Aly Fell
Art By: Aly Fell
Publisher: Dark Horse
Cover Price: $3.99
Elizabethan women must wear dresses. It is not a woman’s place to ask questions nor to talk back. They are always to be seated “like a lady” and endure their treatment as second-class citizens without a word against it. Unfortunately, Rosalind of Aly Fell’s new series The Shadow Glass is finding that abiding by these standards for women is a tad difficult.
Set in sixteenth century England, The Shadow Glass follows the journey of “tomboyish” Rose, who’s world is thrown off balance by the discovery that the man who raised her is not her father and that he’s dying. To make matters worse, her real father is a man who ruined her fake father’s life and is in league with the devil. After having all of this news sprung on to her in a day, she’s told to go back to her studies and not seek any answers to any of this news about her mysterious path. Rose, who is notorious for not wearing frills and corsets, as a lady should, ignores the several warnings she’s given and seeks out her real father, Thomas Hughes.
The Shadow Glass’s strongest element is its vagueness about the supernatural occurrence at the beginning of the story. Fell begins with a prologue that serves as the main hook of the comic because it gives readers a taste of the evil Rose will likely encounter as the story progresses. There’s a subtle sinister element that something is not right with Thomas Hughes, who is introduced to us at the beginning. Then, a few pages later where a demonic sacrifice lead by Thomas involving “The Shadow Glass” goes down, it’s safe to assume that something evil is happening in Fell’s fictional Elizabethan world. These first few pages are enough to be intriguing, yet simultaneously frustrating because it’s going to take a while for Rose to encounter any of the supernatural horrors of hell her father has been dealing with.
Fell’s realistic artwork is gorgeous with exceptional attention to detail and excellent sense of color to set the mood of each scene throughout the comic. The only flaw in Fell’s work, however, is the sexualization of Rose in many panels, which makes sense because Dark Horse Comics publications are typically marketed towards males. It’s disappointing that the only way to get boys to read comics involving a female lead is to make the heroine sexy at all times—even when she’s crying (and there’s quite a bit of crying in this story). Why do we only pay attention to women in comic books if they are stunningly gorgeous no matter what they are feeling? Rose’s beauty is enough to make readers sometimes forget that she’s educated and has a curious personality. It’s notable to add that tomboyishness is somewhat fetishized too, considering that Rose intentionally looks hotter in her “boy” clothes than she does in her work dress. That being said, if you’re looking for a story about a badass female that plays by her own rules, you’re going to have to endure a lot of sultry, pouty-lipped looks in virtually every panel.
Overall, Rose’s world is plagued with enough mystery that’s worth the read due to the level of intrigue Fell sets up with the first issue of his six-part series. Hopefully, Rose will wipe her tears and gear up to fight whatever’s going against her in the next issue of The Shadow Glass.