Terry Moore’s “Rachel Rising” has consistently delivered character development, compelling plot twists, and bone-chilling horror with every issue. The latest installment is no exception, though it suffers slightly by an info dump that will surely pay off later but currently feels a bit awkward.
The dynamic between Rachel and Jet, which has always been a positive aspect of the book, is a huge strength in this issue as readers get a chance to see them falling into their more natural friendship, independent of all the horror. The jokes between them and the chuckles they bring are easily the strength of this issue, while some of the exposition background is easily the weakness.
It’s hard to discuss and critique Moore’s art if you’ve reviewed an issue of “Rachel Rising” before (and I have, many times) because it’s just so universally strong and effortlessly consistent. The expression work is particularly great in this issue, whether it be the aforementioned rapport between Rachel and Jet, or Mary Scott’s crazy bliss at making her wolves attack some jerk hunter (and his fairly innocent friend).
I’m not personally a big fan of snow scenes with this style as it sometimes flattens out the panels and clutters up the space, but it does set a very specific mood that I assume Moore is going for. The falling snow also has the unfortunate effect of making elements compete for attention in a few scenes, and some heavier line weights acting as anchors would have benefited in those scenes. Even with a few complaints, most mainstream comics wish they looked this good. Plus, there’s a scene with a cat and some rats that will haunt readers long after closing the book.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Moore’s story thus far, beyond the sheer delightful horror that he’s managed (and my unreasonable affection for Jet, whose fate I wring my hands over constantly) is the wonderful moral grey area he’s managed. It’s difficult to pin blame on characters as many of them have done very bad things, but perhaps not of their own free will. Even more importantly, our “villains” have an actual legitimate point, as most great villains do. Their revenge is certainly unfairly directed, but they more than deserve their revenge, even if it is too late to visit it on the responsible parties. What goes around comes around, even if it’s a century too late, and the people of Manson are headed toward finding that out the hard way.