Terry Moore continues to pile on the mysteries and body count in his latest comic “Rachel Rising,” a dark horror-based story following a woman who may or may not be dead.
In this issue, Rachel spends some time with her Aunt Johnny, her best friend Jet, and Dr. Siemen, who has been invited to dinner because he signed the papers that got Rachel out of the morgue. Siemen is also the only person with an actual theory on Rachel: she’s no longer Rachel but Ma Malai, a.k.a. The Angel of Death. Meanwhile, Zoe, the young girl who killed her sister and buried her in the same dry riverbed where Rachel woke up days ago, has been checked into a hospital and then assigned to a foster family with evil intentions.
On the whole, Moore is doing some exceptionally satisfying decompressed storytelling with “Rachel Rising.” While the story has moved more slowly than some readers might like, the reality is that five issues in there’s been a ton of compelling action, and some great character development. We just also happen to have a lot of mysteries unresolved and new ones being teased every issue. But unlike some stories that feel like they’re presenting new mysteries because they don’t have the answers to old ones, Moore’s story feels like it knows exactly where it’s going.
Of course Moore’s art is as stunning and well constructed as ever. His storytelling is clean and effortless; his characters are interesting and full of expression. There’s always a wonderful confidence and attention to detail in Moore’s artwork, but I find his work here particularly smart when it comes to the little details like the flies that are dying against the window in Rachel’s room, or the fact that you can see Jet’s breath but not Rachel’s when they are outside in the cold. It’s all very well considered.
Unfortunately, the part of the story that deals with Zoe and the foster parent is a bit of a cliche and feels unrealistic as executed. Moore does nicely subvert the storyline by showing us that the little girl is well able to handle herself, but the foster parent’s actions come off as unbelievable.
“Rachel Rising” is chock full of decadent mystery, unspeakable horror, strong characters, and beautiful black and white artwork, and it’s on its way to becoming the best of Terry Moore’s already impressive work.