Page 45 Review by Stephen
From the creator of ECHO and STRANGERS IN PARADISE.
High above a sleepy town, way beyond its verdant pastures lies a wood that is dense with ancient trees. In the early morning light a statuesque woman with long blonde hair, tied back at the top, strolls calmly through its lush, leafy undergrowth to wait patiently on the bank above a deep, dried-up riverbed. Four birds, silhouetted against the sky, take off through the canopy. And then it happens: a solitary leaf lying in the middle of the dirt track spontaneously combusts. The soil starts to crumble. Fingers emerge, a body struggles free of its shallow grave, gasping for breath
and the tall woman watches impassively.
The pacing of the first chapter is masterful, the resurrection through dried chunks of clay so evidently arduous. And then those stricken eyes the irises bright, the whites blood-red from asphyxiation as Rachel rises in her short black dress and starts to grasp where she is if not why
When she finally looks up there is no one to be seen. Instead she stumbles painfully up the furrow until the trees finally part and she emerges, exhausted, dirty and limp onto the grassy meadow beyond.
Oh, so many questions! Again, its all in the pacing and the relative silence as Rachel makes her way home, showers, looks in the mirror, absorbs what she sees there and the flashbacks begin. Her memory is incomplete, but evidently whatever happened occurred on Tuesday night. Its now Friday evening.
Youre not Rachel.
This was by far my favourite new series of 2011. I cant recall the last time I read a first issue this self-assured let alone this beautiful. Im mesmerised. Just look at these haunting pages: http://www.terrymooreart.com/?p=1833.
Thats not Rachel, but the first woman above, a catalyst for death whos now shadowing Rachel whilst corrupting the innocent, turning love into hatred and the town of Manson into a mass graveyard. Well, it already is look to the past. Nothing good can come from a town called Manson.
So far this series hasnt been about Rachels death but her life: the current state of her unnatural existence. We know shes been strangled as well as asphyxiated not only does she bear the scars but shes been coughing up rope but we dont know by whom. Given recent events the perpetrator might not even remember they did it, let alone have been responsible for their actions; and that opens up a whole new set of awful possibilities.
As always with Terry the cast are predominantly women. Theres a young girl called Zoe orbiting the central narrative very much against her own will, and Rachels best friend since childhood, a mechanic and guitarist called Jet. Best of all, though, theres androgynous Aunt Johnny, a mortician working well into the night and quite used to the company of corpses.
Johnny, whats wrong with me?
Youre dead, honey. Get the butter for me, will you?
In the fridge. Grab the milk, too.
Okay, you just said Im dead.
So Im in heaven?
No, youre in the kitchen, dear. You wanna check the fridge? Butter
A pragmatist to the end and seemingly unflappable, even Aunt Johnny is in for some rude awakenings. In fact, its the wakenings one worries about most. Its not just Rachel whos rising. Killer cliffhanger.