By Stefania Rudd. It’s utter mayhem in the third issue of Ian McGinty’s Welcome to Showside, as we’re treated to a reveal of the Shadow King’s plans while our loveable crew enjoys a school dance… until the zombies arrive.

Right off the bat the Shadow King has a plan on how to get his son, Kit, back into his fold, but what is that plan exactly? Time will surely tell, although his head minion, Frank, has a few ideas of his own—also to be revealed later. After the dust settles, Belle and Moon regroup with Always on Time Andrew (issue #2), and find Kit holed away in his swamp house, reflecting on what the recent goings-on within Showside, the pixel portals, the demons, and the nagging feeling in his gut that something bad is gonna happen.

And no, that isn’t just hunger—even though with Kit it’s hard to tell sometimes. (Waffle taco, anyone?)

courtesy of Z2 Comics.

courtesy of Z2 Comics.

I’m really enjoying how all of this is unfolding. We get just enough in this issue to move the story along without it giving away too much. I have no idea where this story will go. Not in the slightest. This is why this series has been so fun to read: all of the characters are fully developed and complex in their own right, which makes their choices so darn interesting to follow. McGinty steps up the humor by having his own characters call him out (concerning his little note about, of all things, a blowfish). The combination of McGinty’s art and Ryan Sygh’s colors makes for a vivid, bold, and impactful all-ages book. Even the youngest of readers can enjoy the adventures of Kit, Moon, and Belle through the art if the words become too tricky.

In this issue we also get five (count ‘em: 5) backup stories and one feature done by the talented Kate Leth, where Belle has a magical costume trunk that seems harmless until it isn’t. The other four are done by colorist Fred Stressing (along with other artists assisting him), where cute and silly slice of life mini-stories focus upon some of the minor characters. (My favorite is Boo’s New Pants. Seriously, how adorable is Boo? He is pretty frickin’ adorable, you guys.) It’s often that McGinty talks about the fantastic collaborations he’s enjoyed with his friends on Showside, so it’s nice to see that continue in this issue.

Welcome to Showside sees Ian McGinty slowly unveil his world with a warm heart, a sharp eye,  and disarming humor. What we have here is a continuously fun read for every single member of your family.

Z2 Comics/$3.99

Created, written, and illustrated by Ian McGinty.

Colors by Ryan Sygh.

Letters by Fred Stressing.

8.5 out of 10