Rachel Rising Vol. 1: The Shadow of Death

Following your train of thought is a fascinating process.  It's amazing how the brain jumps from point A to B and then suddenly, unconsciously, you're at point K.  Yet, you can trace back each tendril of thought, each neurological connection, all the way back to point A.  Brains are fun that way.

I go through much the same process when I choose a book to read.  Sometime, either in the near or distant past, I decided that a title seemed interesting.  More often, I am influenced by my peers and by book reviewers and bloggers that I admire.  So-called professional accolades lay untasted and ignored.  It may have been several hops through Goodreads, or blog posts, or across blogs, for me to have discovered a title, or it could be something as simple as liking the title.

To be honest, I can't trace back the exact process that led me to place Terry Moore's Rachel Rising on my TBR, but I'm pretty sure it came on the recommendation of another blogger.  Overall, I enjoyed the first volume, and will read on, but I do have a few quibbles.

The edition I had was black and white--it seems some people here had a colored version--but black and white completely suits the macabre theme of the comic.  In the opening panels, a hand bursts out of the ground--the hand of a young woman.  No, she wasn't buried alive--she was quite dead when she was buried.  Now, she's not quite dead, but she's not quite alive either.
Rachel doesn't remember dying, but she can see the bruises around her neck, the petechiae in her eye--and of course, there was the whole grave business.  Someone definitely killed her, and she's going to find out who it was.

While Rachel tries to convince her Aunt Johnny, the coroner, and her best friend Jet that she is not, in fact, dead yet (again?  completely?) a mysterious woman appears and compels a young girl named Zoe to kill.  Enter creepy child stage left.  You can't do a horror comic without a creepy child, can you?  Well, ta-da!  One creepy child, fresh.  

Honestly, there's not a lot of action in this first volume, but that's okay with me.  Moore takes his time setting up the characters and letting us get to know them.  Unfortunately, sometimes the art interferes with the character development.  I had difficulty distinguishing the Bad Lady from Rachel (both are blond, white, and pretty), which made for some confusing panels.  I was also seriously confused about Aunt Johnny.  I totally understood, intellectually, that Johnny was biologically female.  Yet, the way she was drawn ... she totally looked like a man.  Not just like a masculine woman, like a man.  Only in later panels was it easier to distinguish breasts on her figure.  I understand that Moore is being diverse in his characters, but diversity should not be obtuse.

It's also refreshing that Rachel is not a vampire, a ghost, a banshee, a werewolf, or any of the other creatures du jour.  She's just dead-not-dead--she could belong in an episode of The X-Files.  This was a solid start to the series, and I'm curious to see what Rachel and Jet do next.


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