Page 45 Review by Publisher Blurb
"What has Johnny told you?"
she told me you girls have had a lot to deal with lately. And you need your family and friends around."
"Did she tell you we're dead?"
"We all have our little quirks, dear."
In this single tome you'll find all 900 pages of horror-hybrid RACHEL RISING including the glorious full-colour covers not included in the trade paperbacks which constitute one of our top-five highest-selling series of the last six years. Cunningly, Terry has widened the margins at the spine so that nothing goes missing. Every stare, every glare, every threat, every promise, every nuanced implication, moment of kindness and witty one-liner has been preserved for you to read this so effortlessly - unless you're dancing, out jogging or swimming your seventh length.
Trust me on this: it's worth every penny. I was mesmerised from the very first page to the last.
It begins in the early hours of the morning in a sequestered glade above a dried-up riverbed. Black birds take flight as a woman waits, silently and patiently, until a leaf spontaneously combusts...
And another woman claws herself from her all too shallow grave, slowly and painfully and gasping for air... then stumbles falteringly through the trees to make her way back home.
I can promise you two things: Rachel's no zombie; she's very much aware of everything and everyone around her. But she's definitely dead.
She just doesn't know who killed her yet.
The pacing of the opening sequence - one of the most immediately gripping in comics - is masterful.
The resurrection, pushing through dried chunks of clay, is so evidently arduous, and Terry's is the sort of art where you can feel the soil when it grits beneath your finger nails. And then there are 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 heaves herself up the furrow until the trees finally part and she emerges, exhausted, dirty and limp onto the grassy meadow beyond.
Oh, so many questions! And those are the key to any instant addiction.
The first woman swiftly reappears as a catalyst for death, shadowing Rachel around town while 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.
From the creator of STRANGERS IN PARADISE and ECHO, this third epic, RACHEL RISING, proved to be another tour de force combing comedy and tragedy, mercy and mischief, fury and the foibles which make human beings the flawed individuals we all are. It's the humanity I love in a Terry Moore comic.
That's what I mean by 'horror-hybrid'. I emphatically do not imply that this is comedy-horror whose burlesque obviously has its own place. Instead Moore has ever evidenced the knack of juxtaposing tragedy and comedy so that each acts to underline as well as undercut the other when it's so desperately required. The comedy's funnier for its juxtaposition, the horror all the more startling.
Terry's books always focus on real women full of quick-witted, arched-eyebrow attitude but also vulnerability and kindness with complicated friendships rather than two-dimensional bravado, and that's reflected in his art for he draws fulsome curves where they are, rather than where our modern plastic surgeons or prurient photo-shop dingbats dictate they should be.
It's not enough to show someone in pain: almost every other month for some fifteen years throughout STRANGERS IN PARADISE's epic, heart-felt run, Moore managed to summon the best in his characters to care for each other whenever tragedy struck or wrong decisions were made. Not necessarily immediately - who of us gets it right every time at the very first sign? - but in the long run, when the chips are down, when it is needed the most.
There's more nature than ever in RACHEL RISING, both flora and fauna, in open, snow-swept landscapes with skeletal trees or dense summer woodland populated by deer and dogs and ever so many crows. Life and death are central to its premise, the natural cycle all too unnaturally broken by Lilith and Rachel and - of course - in a different way, by the man who's been slaughtering women then burying them, face down with a rope around their necks in shallow graves.
Sorry, did I abruptly introduce Lilith there? You'll find her quite the cultivator.
"Wow, Lilith... I never pictured you as a gardener."
"Really? I was the first."
Then there's small Zoe whose tender years and delinquent behaviour belie her true age and enthusiasm for extreme, psychopathic violence. Giving her the sharpest knife in Christendom probably wasn't the wisest idea. What's her connection? You'll see.
Now, along with her best friend Jet - guitarist and mechanic - and beloved Aunt Johnny the town's top mortician, Rachel must try to come to grips with her condition, its attendant... properties... and try to find clues to who killed her, all while avoiding the repercussions of a history which has lied buried under that selfsame riverbed for years.
Jet in particular is a goldmine of deadpan, pithy rejoinders. She and Rachel make for the perfect tag team of intimate friendship born of frank understanding, which makes what follows all the more horrifying. Zoe's no slouch on the comebacks, either, and this series is all about comebacks.
Terry Moore, meanwhile, is all about inclusivity. It shone throughout STRANGERS IN PARADISE, and does so here. I know you'll adore Aunt Johnny, the mortician who is resolute and unflustered even when out of her depth. Typically, that's when she'll start digging deeper.
And if I care for anyone above all here it is her quiet, self-contained, mortuary assistant Earl whose eyes you never see while hidden behind such thick glasses, but who nonetheless wears his great big heart on his equally gargantuan sleeve and doesn't have a duplicitous or disloyal bone in his body. Bulky and bald, he's not as simple as he seems for he knows right from wrong. He's just reticent and easily embarrassed, so suffers in silence because of it.
There will be history, there will be tragedy in its truest sense, and there will be subplots so very well hidden because Terry trusts his readers enough to know that perfect sense in retrospect is a much bigger payoff than signposting. There will be crime and there will be punishment.
And before the end it's not impossible that you'll come to love Lilith, too.
"You should have more respect for human life."
"I would if they would."