Shadoweyes blends superhero drama and teen angst in a way no other comic series has. Its colorful cast defies all stereotypes and expectations. Imagine an idealistic young female vigilante who suddenly has been gifted the physical prowess to clean up the crime-polluted city she's so longed to save. Now imagine trying to do that while juggling a concerned mother, touchy friends, teenage romance, and a criminal landscape that turns out to be bleaker, grittier, and less prone to spandex than your average cape book. This is Scout Montanta's situation and it's never easy. It's never pretty.
At the same time though, Shadoweyes is about much more than fisticuffs and crime-fighting. There's a running theme of going against gender expectations and conventional sexuality, making the story feel much more fresh and unique than any superhero title in recent memory.
Shadoweyes is by Ross Campbell, of Wet Moon
fame. So far there have been two graphic novels released, with a third announced.
Shadoweyes contains the following tropes:
- After the End: Implied. Dranac, the city that forms the setting, is situated in the middle of a wasteland that looks like a bombed-out former city.
- Art Shift: Keeps a lot of signature Campbell elements (big eyes, thick lips, punky hairdos), but uses chunky, angular lines and hard-edged shading rather than the delicate lines and ink washes seen in Wet Moon and Water Baby. The lines become much smoother in Volume 2 but retain the hard-edge shading.
- Becoming the Mask
- Bland-Name Product: Pony Master, the card game played by Sparkle. Seems to be a strange mashup of Pokémon/Yu-Gi-Oh! and My Little Pony, with a bit of Heroclix thrown in for good measure.
- Body Horror: Liberally.
- Break the Cutie: What the antagonist appeared to be attempting with Sparkle.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": Literally. Shadoweyes’ chest insignia is a heavily stylized S. Sparkle's eventual superhero costume also gets an "S" symbol.
- Clothing Damage: A non-fanservice take. Every time Scout turns into Shadoweyes or gets in a fight, clothing gets appropriately torn up. As perhaps being genre savvy to this, that’s probably why the Shadoweyes “costume” is so simple—so it can be easily replaced.
- Crapsack World: Dranac is not a nice place to live, to put it gently.
- Cursed with Awesome: Shadoweyes doesn’t look human and has extremely photosensitive eyes, but that’s a small price to pay for superhuman strength, night vision, a prehensile bladed tail, super hearing, gripping walls like a gecko, super endurance, rapid healing…
- Cute Bruiser: Kyisha kickboxes and it shows. Noah's rather soft facial features may qualify him as a rare male variant.
- Cute Clumsy Monster Girl: For most of Volume 1 Scout has some issues adjusting to Shadoweye's new mass and form, frequently resulting in embarrassing wipeouts.
- Cute Little Fangs: Shadoweyes. Rarely visible in Volume 1, make far more appearances in 2.
- Cute Monster Girl: Possibly qualifies.
- Disappeared Dad: Scout’s Mom appears to be single. Her Dad is never discussed or hinted at. Same for Sparkle.
- Noah's dad is never mentioned ether. The only member of the main cast whose parents are Happily Married is Kyisha.
- Expy: Shadoweyes bears a strong resemblance to a sort of chibi Xenomorph.
- Eye Scream: The unnamed antagonist is missing an eye. This isn’t entirely clear (due to Peek-a-Bangs) until the very last page, when we see her full face. The fact that the empty socket is mostly covered in scar tissue does not help.
- Genki Girl: Sparkle. May possibly actually have some form of ADHD.
- Genre Savvy: Shadoweyes (both the character and the book) definitely benefits from being aware of Superhero Tropes.
- The Goggles Do Nothing: Averted. Shadoweyes has to wear goggles in broad daylight or horrible headaches ensue.
- Ill Girl: Sparkle, has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
- Intersex: Kyisha is a rare subtle and believable example. Shadoweyes herself later thinks a lot about this, since she has absolutely no gender signifiers that she’s yet discovered.
- Made of Iron: Both Shadoweyes and the unnamed antagonist, which makes for a pretty brutal fight scene. With the former it’s due to a Healing Factor, with the latter, we have no idea yet as to how, but boy is she ever. If one of the indentations in her skull are an indicator, she’s taken a baseball bat to the face before.
- Meaningful Background Event: Sharp-eyed readers will note Shadoweyes' legs slowly being drawn bigger and bigger as time passes in the first volume. This is remarked on more than once in volume two, and confirmed by Word of God to have plot significance.
- Meaningful Name: Shadoweyes has night vision.
- Meganekko: Scout, after she’s started transforming off and on. Possibly part of her Becoming the Mask as her eyes get more sensitive.
- Mugging the Monster: A mathematics mugger tries to rob Kyisha and Noah. Asskicking ensues.
- Nice Shoes: Kitty slippers!
- No Name Given: The antagonist, so far. Which is why she keeps being referred to here as just “the antagonist.”
- Ordinary High School Student: Averted. Scout wanted to be a vigilante, and started acting on it, well in advance of gaining actual superpowers.
- Overly-Long Gag: The “shadow” discussion at the beginning. Shadownose, shadowfoot, shadowbeverage…
- Peek-a-Bangs: Scout (pre-Shadoweyes), the antagonist, and Kyisha manages an odd, nifty variant using her cornrow braids.
- Reality Ensues: Among its deconstructed superhero tropes, Shadoweyes actually stops to reflect how serious even punching someone really hard can be in terms of raw physical damage.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Noah looks to be building up to one in Volume 1. Actually, Shadoweyes inspired him to start vigilante work of his own...which isn't to say he's without anger issues.
- Samaritan Syndrome: Shadoweyes is definitely developing this as she comes to realize you have to pick who you save/help in a city as big as Dranac.
- Shapeshifter Baggage: Handwaved to an extent by Scout. She’s slightly bigger as Shadoweyes and theorizes it as “Eukaryotic Mitosis.”
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Scout eventually can't change back.
- Shout-Out: To Wet Moon. Before she starts transforming, Scout’s Shadoweyes costume bears more than a passing resemblance to Unknown’s. There are also some possible superhero allusions: specifically, some of Shadoweyes’ poses are very reminiscent of Spider-Man.
- So Proud of You: Scout’s Mom. Awwwww.
- The Speechless/The Voiceless: The antagonist seems to be one of these. Which, we’re not sure yet.
- Super Hero Origin: Averted, so far—we have no idea about the hows or whys of Scout’s superpowers.
- Superpowered Alter Ego: One possible explanation for how the transformation works.
- That Man Is Dead: Eventually, Scout only identifies as Shadoweyes. A rare heroic example.
- Transformation Trauma: Played with. Scout claims it only hurts to change back from being Shadoweyes, not to turn into it.
- Transvestite: Kyisha is mistaken for one by a classmate.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Neither Kyisha nor Scout’s Mom really freak out that much about Scout turning into a superhuman beastie. Knowing Campbell, there may be a reason for this.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Bright lights hurt enough to make Shadoweyes want to just curl up in a little ball.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Scout, as Shadoweyes, briefly muses if she’s even human anymore.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Given her lack of speech, the ludicrous amount of damage she can take, the fact that her only expressions are “blank” and “pissed off,” and Ross Campbell’s known love of zombies, it’s highly possible the unnamed antagonist is some variety of undead.