In “Rachel Rising” #15, Terry Moore ratchets up the tension as the city of Manson (and its citizens) begin to feel the wrath of Lilith for their ancestors’ crimes against her 300 years ago. Rhat wrath takes on a whole new meaning as the town’s water supply becomes literally infested with rats. The curse is beginning to take shape and things are going to get very ugly.
Moore somehow strikes an impossible balance between horror and comedy as the townspeople discover their devastating (and grotesque) plight. Like any group of people, they all discover things their own way and have their own reactions — Aunt Jonny says the water smells “feral,” a local boy is accused of drying his hands on the cat instead of a towel and of course there’s Jet, who fully freaks out (she’s got my vote for most appropriate reaction).
Meanwhile, Rachel, desperate to find some answers to who she is and how she came to be, reaches out to her dead mother — literally. After collapsing desperately (and yet adorably) face first in the snow on her mother’s grave and wishing they could talk, she takes matters into her own hands and uses her newfound powers to communicate with her deceased parent. We don’t know what she’s learned (yet), but judging by Rachel’s reaction, it’s easily as terrifying as the rat infestation.
In the midst of these absolutely horrifying circumstances, Jet and Earl are well on their way to becoming my favorite comedy duo in comics. When Jet points an accusation at her wonderfully sweet and kind friend, I cringed (and kinda wanted to slap Jet silly for her wrong-headed thinking), but mere panels later they were banding together hilariously, fighting against a vermin infestation. It’s good that they remember what’s important, even in the middle of a fight. Jet and Earl forever, I say!
“Rachel Rising” has been an incredibly strong series from its first panel, leaving no doubt about Moore’s talent for horror and the ability to effectively balance it in a realistic story full of humor and insight, emotion and drama. With every issue of “Rachel Rising,” I become more certain that it’s my favorite work of Moore’s to date.