With “Rachel Rising” #23, Terry Moore continues to ratchet up the tension with the precision only a master of horror can manage. Things are so tense at this point, readers turn pages with bated breath; anxious, worried and excited for events to come as Lilith continues her revenge on Mason and the entire human race.
Anyone that reads Terry Moore regularly knows how fantastic and how wonderfully consistent his work looks. Moore’s work looks well-considered and lovely, even when it’s terrifying. The slow build burying the town of Mason under a mountain of snow is becoming a serious issue for our characters, and has created some lovely visuals — evidenced by the opening splash panel of a stunning shot of a mansion covered in white. I previously complained about the snow generally interfering with and crowding out so much of what I love of Moore’s work. I still don’t love it, but from a story perspective, it’s certainly paying off.
Independent of the snow, the storytelling is nearly flawless — from subtle character work and expertly laid out humorous scenes chock full of strong expressions and body language, to stuff that will absolute make your skin crawl with its creepiness. The scene when the power goes out doesn’t quite work as well visually, but it’s a tough scene to pull off and executes well enough to be understood.
Despite being a fantastically dark series in the best of ways (and this issue has some real darkness), Moore still manages to keep it all in balance. This issue has some truly disturbing instances — part of a man’s arm pulled gruesomely from under a VW bus; a supernatural vision of dozens of women hanging by their necks in the sky; and perhaps the most subtle (and worst of all), the suggestion of what an unassuming neighbor has planned for a former friend — but it’s also one of the funniest issues Moore has delivered and he’s wise to cut this darkness with humor. Perhaps even more interesting is that most of the humor in this issue comes from Zoe, the sociopathic, supernaturally motivated and incredibly mysterious ten-year-old girl that is murdering people in Mason left and right. Her interactions with Rachel and Jet (currently with James in possession of her body) are laugh-out-loud funny, and a welcome relief from the storm — literal and metaphorical — in “Rachel Rising.”
“Rachel Rising” remains Moore’s strongest and tightest work to date. It has not let up one bit, slowly tightening its horrific grasp on readers and the fictional town of Mason. If you’re not reading “Rachel Rising,” you’re missing out.