Rachel Rising #14

Story by
Art by
Terry Moore
Letters by
Terry Moore
Cover by
Abstract Studios

A slightly quieter issue for Terry Moore's "Rachel Rising" as Rachel stands her ground against her former friend and ally, effectively drawing a line in the sand. Jet's fate again remains unsure as her guardian angel Earl keeps vigilant watch over her.

The slow build to a true confrontation between Rachel and her former friends and "colleagues" is good, and anyone who isn't anxious about what's to come between these ladies is not paying enough attention. The almost casual dialogue between Rachel and Mary Scott in this issue is great, in part because it easily could have been an overwrought scene full of too many characters trying to be badasses. Instead, Moore opts for something subtler, far more interesting and ultimately scarier than the more overt and obvious route he could have taken.

As always, Moore's illustration work is so strong that most of the time it simply doesn't need words, which he takes advantage of frequently. The best sequence in this whole issue is easily a four-page sequence with no words (save a couple panels of counting), yet the storytelling is flawless and the mystery that the pages hint at is delicious. Exceptional comics are often about the perfect merging of words and pictures, but Moore is a great reminder that exceptional storytelling choices can be made with only one half of that equation.

There's an easy elegance to what Moore does with "Rachel Rising. It feels like a quiet character piece in so many ways, but there's this powerful undercurrent of horror that is truly terrifying. The combination of the two elements creates one of the most understated but effective horror books I've read in recent years. He's also set up a wonderfully complex question of morality within his framework. Rachel is clearly our hero and as a reader you do side with her, but her enemies have valid complaints, which makes them all the more interesting and believable -- if only all "villains" were this layered.

Terry Moore's "Rachel Rising" has simply not had a weak issue since its inception. Some issues have a bit more gravitas or importance than others, but they're all strong and so far show no sign of stopping.

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