It's always exciting to see a new series by Terry Moore. Especially as a reader hungry for strong well-rounded female characters, I always know I'm going to get something interesting from Moore. I also always know the book is going to be beautiful, and probably pretty intriguing. "Rachel Rising" #1 is no exception, and delivers on all fronts.
"Rachel Rising" opens with nine gorgeous silent pages as Moore effortlessly shows us a woman rising from, what seems like a grave, though it's in a muddy riverbed, not a cemetery, while another woman looks on unimpressed. It's a powerful and engrossing sequence, and in the hands of a lesser storyteller it might be confusing, but it's clear and concise and, since it's Moore, beautiful to boot. The woman rising is the titular Rachel, and she doesn't know what's happened to her, though she otherwise seems to remember who she is. We learn a little more about Rachel through a brief flashback. We see one of the last things she remembers before waking up in the riverbed, with the exception of some flashes of how she maybe got put there, and then we join her as she tries to piece together what's going on. The story ends on a great cliffhanger that dares you not to pick up the next issue.
Moore has shown us just enough here to hook readers good and deep, and set us on a very personal detective story of sorts as Rachel tries to uncover what's happened to her. There are hints at something supernatural going on -- a change in Rachel's eyes, a leaf that burns up mid-air, and of course, Rachel rising from her seeming grave -- but Moore lays it all out nice and easy, so that it blends well with the personal drama and feels nuanced and well-considered. As always with Moore's work, the writing voice is natural and well fits the story he's telling, with just enough humor and lightness to balance out the darker elements at play.
The art, as anyone familiar with Moore's previous work has come to expect, is sublime. Detailed but clean, his figure work is only surpassed by his line work; his composition only surpassed by his pacing. Characters have distinctive body shapes and individual styles that help wordlessly define their personalities, and those characters remain consistent from panel to panel and page to page.
I've read a surprising number of really good "independent" new comic books this summer, and "Rachel Rising" is at the top of that really good pile. Intriguing and mysterious, beautiful and smart, "Rachel Rising" is a must read for anyone interested in "good comics."