Rachel Rising : #1-#42
Written and Illustrated by Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studios
This last May 25, the last issue of the series was released after stable but not increasing sales lead Terry Moore to end it. Luckily, to my endless content, it was left open-ended enough that it can be revived once more. Of all the horror series that were being published the past couple years, this one is just so much at par with the top ones from more established publisher, sadly it did not get all the acclaim it deserved. ONE DAY YOU SHALL RETURN, MY PRECIOUS!!!!!
This is a very critically acclaimed story of a woman that wakes up buried in the earth, proceeds to dig her way out, only to find she had been murdered, and goes on a hunt to discover her murderer, as well as the why. Along the way she finds a child murderer (as in child is the murderer, not someone that murders children), Lilith, a demon, and people from a past long since forgotten; all the while connecting with her best friend and the very few family members left.
No matter how much I love and enjoy this story, and I do, a lot, it is not perfect. There are some unexplained events, plot holes, disappearing characters without explanations, and underwhelming reveals. The biggest disappointment pertaining to this was the reveal of the identity of the murderer. The reader is left completely blindsided, sort of what happened with Batman: Hush, as the person that we thought was guilty, and was shown to be, is not, in fact he was not really shown until the reveal. It felt like a cheat for shock value or for tricking the audience. I am being positive by assuming that once the series is revived, it will be explained who the guy we suspected is and what he has done to be mentioned, I sense a dark past. In a similar fashion, there is another character, an investigator, that is used for a couple scenes and then never again. We are left uncertain of what has happened to the case he was solving, or what occurred to him after he discovered certain things. He was simply gone form the story, no explanation, and no one to replace him, it felt useless to have him there when he was not utilized the way he could have been.
I adored the female portrayal in this comic. Terry Moore wrote another series also starting female characters, and from what I’ve heard, he does them justice in there, perhaps much more than he did in this one. There is no sexy-body reveals as a plot device, nor any stereotypical views, in fact, a lot of the characters break some stereotype in one way or the other. His women are of all shapes and sizes, and he shows the changes in body depending on the position of the body, which is something often forgotten for a flat belly. And there is no body-shaming at all. It is almost as if it is possible to show women of various body types without deeming some “better” than the others and making some seem “disgusting”. Whoa!!!! (that was sarcasm) Good job Sir, good job!
The addition of past and present colliding was beautiful and sad. There was a scene in which Rachel is trying to find the type of rope she was choked with, and she asks a worker at the store about it. This worker is black, and had a family member lynched with the same type of rope. We see an embrace between them as they both mourn for a single moment. An emotional scene that links to what happened to the characters, not only in present time, but in past, from lynch mobs to witch burning. It did not feel an useless addition at all, but a human connection to make us thing about our views in the middle of a crime-horror comic.
The art is amazing as well. I am very picky when it comes to black and white comics, it is always harder to show emotion and plot with an art that is so “plain.” Often writers/artists hide their inconsistencies with amazing and colourful art, which cannot be hidden when there are no colours popping off of the page. It makes sense to have the story told this way, we are not distracted by anything except what is going on, our sole focus lies in Moore’s storytelling. it is easier to catch what makes no sense, but it is a testament to the story that we continue to read in earnest.
The series is also quite funny, with the main source of laughs coming from a murdering child. After learning about demons and killing, it is nice to turn the page and have a joke dropped on us. The story does a good balance between the serious and the comedic. I am definitely reading his Strangers in Paradise if this comic is even remotely similar to that one.
Please, go and support this book and author, it is well deserved. Pick up a copy at your local comic store, or Comixology, sit back in a big chair with some tea and enjoy, you will not regret it.