“Rachel Rising”: A Book Review

“Rachel Rising” by Terry Moore. Published by Abstract Studio.

Imagine, if you can, digging yourself out of a grave in the ground and not having any memory of how you wound up there or who you really are.

“Rachel Rising” is an amazing tale, but I really did not realize it at first. Let me clarify. We’re talking about a graphic novel, drawn and written by Terry Moore.

You see, comics are so short, and they come out every two months, so they can be difficult to follow. “Rachel Rising” will end with the 42nd issue, so there’s a great deal of story to follow. It’s a complex story and—once I started buying trades one to five, of which there will be seven when the tale is complete—I found myself reading the story and flipping back through the pages because an event was occurring that triggered remembrances of something that happened much earlier. There are six individual comics in a trade.

I’m ashamed to admit that I started buying each individual comic in the beginning and stopped reading them at around issue 11. However, if I’d been able to conveniently flip back to earlier comics and reread certain sections, I never would have stopped reading the series.

unnamed“Rachel Rising” is a wonderfully complex, detailed adventure that must be read in large chunks at a time. I’m a writer myself, and I remembered how wonderful “Strangers In Paradise” and “Echo,” also by Terry Moore, were, so I decided to give “Rachel Rising” another chance. When I bought and read the five trade paperbacks together, with total enjoyment, I was amazed. Terry Moore has outdone himself. The story is carefully plotted and drawn, and Terry didn’t miss a trick.

The story takes place in a town called Manson, which has a history of conspiring against women of nature. Many were tortured and hung. But now, in the present day, the worm has turned, so to speak.

A group of unique characters populate “Rachel Rising.” There are women who were hung and have come back, Rachel being one of them. Her friends are also unique. Aunt Johnny is an undertaker and in a happily committed lesbian relationship. Then there’s Doctor Siemen, who keeps company with his wife and claims she’s agoraphobic. Actually, she doesn’t go out because she’s quite dead.

The women of the past and present, and a killer little girl named Zoe, attempt to set things right in Manson. Justice must be done. This story has ghosts, dire wolves, a dog that becomes possessed with the spirit of Aunt Johnny and an active mortuary. There’s also a priest who, well, you’ll see.

As I said, there’ll be seven books in all, or 42 comics if you choose to buy them that way. The first comic sells for about $100 due to the story’s popularity. There are also rumors that the story has been optioned for a television show. By the time you read this, all the later issues will have been released, and you can pick them up for a normal price. However, I recommend buying the trade paperbacks, which contain approximately six comics in each book.

If you really like this story, and I think you will, the publisher will soon release a special hardcover Black Edition, which will be limited to 750 signed and numbered copies. It is due to come out in July, and if you pre-order it, you’ll get a sketch with the book’s signature.

Rachel has risen and she’s not the only one come back to avenge the innocent women who were killed by the gentle folk of Manson. This is a great yarn illustrated and penned by Terry Moore. Terry’s a nice guy too. It’s amazing what must be going on in his head. I wouldn’t want to venture there alone.

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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