After taking a backseat for the last few issues — last month, quite literally — Gina is back in the spotlight. Cavan Scott and Corin Howell take readers through some of the lowest points in Gina’s past, finally addressing some of the biggest questions I’ve had since this series began.
There are still plenty of double crosses and shifty motivations among its cast, as all good spy fiction must have. Some of it can be a bit difficult to track, particularly since the series took a break for a couple of months, but this issue still lays a good amount of groundwork for the series’ evolving web of magical conspiracies.
First of all, it’s great that we finally get to see how Gina and Edwin originally met. The interactions between the pair have always been a highlight of Shadow Service, but there’s always been an element of mystery to their unlikely friendship. This issue makes it clear that they’ve always looked out for one another, an unlikely pair making their way in a world that seems out to get them. Of course, this issue also illustrates that Gina has always had a chip on her shoulder, which can sometimes manifest in horrifying ways.
The sequence in the graveyard might be the most chilling scene in the series to date. Without spoiling anything here, Gina’s confrontation with a reanimated corpse has huge implications for her power levels, and speaks volumes about how far she’s willing to go to get the answers she’s seeking. It makes one wonder what she’ll be willing to do in future issues, if things get complicated enough.
Also, Howell draws the hell out of this sequence. While there’s plenty of gore in this issue, this sequence goes for a more classical approach to zombies, presenting them as dried out, desiccated husks. Adding a literal light in their eyes is a nice touch, a visual reminder that these creatures are being animated by someone else’s power. Triona Farrell makes some great color choices in this sequence as well. While a majority of the flashbacks in this issue are denoted by a palette of pinks and purples, the zombies and the cemetery are given a sickly yellowish-green, making them stand out sharply against Gina’s literal rose-colored memories.
Howell and Farrell provide plenty of creepy set dressing throughout the issue. In fact, this issue has quite a few images that are likely to get under your skin. Some of them, like an exotic dancer removing her skin, are in the background of certain scenes, lending an eerie atmosphere to the whole thing.
This is all made possible through a really fun device that Scott has introduced in this issue: lenses that allow the characters to see demons as they truly are. It’s such a clever little supernatural spin on a James Bond-style gadget that I couldn’t help but love it.
Shadow Service #7 is packed to the rafters with spooky confrontations and unexpected plot twists, and it’s easily one of the best issues yet.
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