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Old 07-13-2014, 02:42 PM
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Rachel's Rising




Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: July 13, 2014

Released by: Abstract Studio
Release date: 2012-ongoing
MSRP: Various
Paperback
2013



I posted a comment in a recent thread - a thread complaining about lack of reviews on the site - about how I'm not watching too many movies these days, making it difficult to post new reviews. I further explained that most of my free time (truly 'free' time, like after family time and obligations) is spent reading. Someone responded suggesting that I post reviews of the books I read. It wouldn't be the first time. I have posted book reviews in the past and that may indeed be a majority of my reviews in the future.

I dusted off my review templates and started considering what to review next for the site. While some of the books I read are in fact horror, many are science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries. Those can all work on the site since many horror fans enjoy those other genres as well. It was by pure accident that I stumbled upon, and ultimately chose to review, a horror comic titled Rachel Rising. An accidental Google search led me to an IGN article titled Top 10 Indie Comics You Should Be Reading. The article got me thinking: Should I start reading more comics? Outside of The Walking Dead, which has been pretty weak as of late, I'm not a regular reader of comics. Perhaps it is time to expand my love of reading into comics as well? I love digital reading. The Kindle is a wonderful invention and it was the spark that rekindled (no pun intended) my love of the written word. Even with The Walking Dead, I would often choose digital on comiXology versus the printed comic book. Sometimes I even read the digital comic on my phone - using the double tap feature to zoom in on each particular panel on the page and read the entire book panel by panel (pure genious feature!). After reading over the IGN article, I decided to give Rachel Rising a try. The premise was enticing enough to lure me in. A young girl mysteriously awakens in a shallow grave. Her eyes are read and there are rope marks around her neck. Turns out she is dead, except she is undead. The rest of her story is, well, the story!

I decided if I was going to start reading comics on a regular basis, a larger screen than my phone was needed. My neglected Nook tablet seemed perfect for the job. I updated it to Cyanogenmod 11 and installed Bexus-N2 kernel that allows the Nook to run at an overclocked speed of 1.2ghz. Yes, that was my geek self shining through! The Nook is a perfect comic reader now. I headed off to comiXology and bought the first few volumes to Rachel Rising. Read on for my full thoughts on Terry Moore's Rachel Rising.

The Story

inline Image A young woman, Rachel, emerges from a shallow grave in the forest. She staggers out of the forest and flags down a passing motorist and gets a ride back into town. She arrives home, showers and tries to piece together the events from the previous night. After sleeping several hours, Rachel seeks help from her friend Jet. On her way to Jet's, Rachel discovers she has lost two days when she learns it is Friday, not Wednesday as she first believed.

Rachel turns to her Aunt Johnny, the local mortician, for help with the mystery. Aunt Johnny, having done her job a bit too long, believes Rachel's isn't real and is a figment of her imagination. With some insistence, Rachel convinces Aunt Johnny to accompany her to the woods and the site of the shallow grave. When Aunt Johnny sees that the grave is real, she panics, thinking Rachel may indeed be dead. Rachel finally convinces Aunt Johnny she is real.

Meanwhile, a side story is developing with an orphan child named Zoe. People around her have a tendency to die in a violent manner. She's about to be brought to a new foster home but that doesn't go over so well. Between Rachel's story and Zoe's, their paths soon cross and the results kick off the beginning to Rachel Rising.

inline Image I love when I stumble upon something by accident that I end up loving. One of my favourite bands used to be The Dresden Dolls. I'll never forget hearing Coin Operated Boy on the radio in middle of the night on my way to work. It was a silly, wonderful song that I loved the instant I heard it. I searched and searched for the band but turned up empty, thanks mostly to me thinking it was something about a 'Corn Boy'. Hey, I work in the middle of the night and was half asleep when I heard it! Months later I heard the song again. I paid a lot more attention to it this time around. I discovered the band and fell in love with their music. I went to a few of their shows, introduced some friends to their music, and the rest is history. It's happened to me with some novels, too. Accidental discovery of something I ended up loving. Now I have a similar story with Rachel Rising. I accidentally stumbled onto an article recommending some independent comics to try out. I liked the blurb on Rachel Rising, gave it a try and fell in love. It's a beautiful thing.

Terry More is the artist and writer of Rachel Rising. His black and white art is beautiful. It has that timeless, dreamlike feel to it and, like The Walking Dead, I just couldn't imagine is being in color. The black and white works; it's errie and haunting, reminding me of Carnival of Souls.

inline Image It's a nice change of pace to read a comic where the protagonist is a strong woman. While she starts off as a victim, we quickly learn during her travels that she's anything but. She's smart, strong willed, and determined to unravel the mystery surrounding her death. While the story is a mystery, focusing mainly on Rachel, there's so much more to it than that. She's not the only character to become undead. There's many wonderful characters, including a dim witted and love sick mortician named Earl. When it comes to telling a great story, it all starts with the strength of the characters. If you don't care about the characters, no one cares that there are blood sucking zombies trying to kill them. Make no mistake, though, there's more to Rachel than great character development. Add in murder, gore, demons, and countless undead. Top that with some demonic possession and a snake spitting women and you have yourself a genuine horror comic!

I tried with all my might to not devour the first 26 issues. I knew once I was caught up (Issue 26 is the most recent as of July 2014), the painful wait for the monthlies would begin. I lost that battle fairly quick. Because it is so well written and intriguing, you just can't help going to the next issue. It's that good. I feel like creator Terry Moore has barely finished Chapter One. And that's okay. While a book can get long in the tooth, something I've recently experienced with The Walking Dead, Rachel Rising remains as fresh at issue 26 as it was in the first issue. The key for Moore is to not overstay the welcome. While it may take another 100 issues to tell his tale (hoping), I hope he doesn't keep it going just for the sake of keeping it going. His prior series, Echo, ran for 30 issues and was well reviewed. He seemingly ended that on a high note, so I'm expecting nothing less with Rachel. While I haven't read Echo, I'll certainly be taking a peak at it given my enjoyment of Rachel.

inline Image This is my first time reading anything by Terry Moore, though some quick research shows that he has been in the comic industry for over 20 years. As I started researching Moore and Rachel Rising, I learned that at one point he had to consider stopping it due to low sales. I'll admit that I often root for the underdog and while I wrote this review in hopes of leading more readers to the series, it's important to note that had I not liked it, I would be just as vocal about letting it die. The fact is, it's a great comic. It's well drawn, well written, and beautifully, albeit hauntingly, detailed in its visuals. It would be a sin for Moore to end this series prematurely due to lack of sales. I'll be buying each individual issue here on our to show my support. I ordered a t-shirt to show my support. I'll be introducing myself to Terry Moore at the New York comic convention and thanking him for the wonderful story. If I'm lucky I'll be getting some custom art from him as well. In case you haven't figured it out by now, I love the comic. Read it. Support independent comic creators such as Terry Moore. Tell your friends. Like his facebook page. Spread the word. This artist and this story deserve a successful run with Rachel Rising. Highly recommended!

Final Thoughts

Rachel Rising is one of the best horror comics I have ever read. It's an independent, creator released comic and one that shouldn't be missed by horror fans. It has all the elements you could want: the undead, well written characters and story, and beautiful visuals. Not to be missed.

Rating

.
Story - A


 

 

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Old 07-17-2014, 09:57 PM
October!
Agreed, Dave. Support your indie creators and check out this great book!
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