by Terry Moore
I have to give Terry Moore credit for a few things after reading the first volume of his most recent series, Rachel Rising. When I think of Moore, I think of Strangers In Paradise, his very entertaining romantic comedy series. His Echo was a cool science fiction series that kept me entertained throughout. Nothing he's done to this point in his career prepared me for how creepy he can be, as evidenced by this collection of the first six issues of his still ongoing series.
When this book opens, young Rachel Beck has been buried in a shallow grave in a dried up creek. She wakens, and violently digs her way out. She has no memory of how she got there, other than a flashback of a masked man strangling her with rope, and she has the marks on her neck, and the haemorrhaging in her eyes to prove it. She makes her way home, and goes to sleep.
As this story unfolds, we see people start to react to Rachel differently. Her Aunt Johnny, the town mortician believes she is a ghost at first, and even her best friend doesn't know how to react to her. After going to see the friend, Jet, perform at a local bar, Rachel gets knocked off a roof, and dies (again). A little while later, she wakes up, terrifying her aunt and friend. It soon becomes apparent that Rachel is, indeed, dead, and that some very strange things are going on in the town of Manson (nice choice of name).
While Rachel is going about her business, we also get to meet a young girl named Zoe, who was visited in her home by a blonde woman we see standing over Rachel's grave, and speaking to the man who pushes his fiancee off the bar roof, hitting Rachel in the process. Zoe murders her sister, sets her house on fire, and steals the family car to bury her sister in the creek, where she meets the murderous fiancee, doing the same thing.
Later, Zoe meets up with Rachel and her friends, and we learn that only Rachel and Zoe can see the blonde woman. There are a lot of little clues being left for us - the smoke that comes out of dead bodies when they move again, the references to Manson's history of involvement with witches, and the friendly local doctor who has kept his dead wife's body propped up in the living room for thirty years. It's too early in the story for Moore to connect any dots, but he's doing a great job of laying the groundwork for an epic.
I love Moore's art. His draftsmanship in this black and white book is as good as it's ever been, and his character work is becoming more and more refined. The fiancee could be a stand in for Freddie from SiP, but there's something much more realistic about the guy, even as he's portrayed as a bit of a boorish caricature.
I regret having not dived into this series before now. It's pretty compelling stuff.