Terry Moore's "Rachel Rising" has been an intriguing book with a surprisingly dark horror bent from its very first pages. For eight issues, Moore has been slow about dolling out answers to the building mysteries, but in "Rachel Rising" #9, all that changes.
Since the first issue, readers have learned tiny bits about Rachel and what caused her to rise from her shallow grave -- and then survive a long fall from a building, a car crash and who knows what else. A mysterious (and disturbing) blonde woman follows Rachel, and since her resurrection readers have seen even more people resurrected, including Rachel's friend Jett. There's also one very scary little girl, Zoe, out on a killing spree. The story has been wonderfully paced out and enjoyable, but Moore is right to finally start giving some answers in this issue, which are equally as intriguing as the mysteries he's laid out.
That said, given the exceptional build up, I found myself wishing for a slightly more nuanced reveal to the payoff. However, there's still a whole lot more we don't know, and like any good mystery, the answers to some questions have brought up new ones. The reveal itself feels a bit exposition heavy for my tastes.
It's a testament to how engaging Moore's story is that I turned the page to see tons of dialogue balloons and was instantly excited. This has been a quiet book with a lot of horrific violence handled very matter-of-factly. The result is a fascinating story that feels both rooted strongly in reality and powerfully tinged with magic, fantasy and horror. It's a good combination, but after a while you do find yourself itching for answers.
Terry Moore's art is always lovely and well considered -- "Rachel Rising" is no exception. In fact, it's probably my favorite of his books from a visual standpoint. This issue is a bit heavy on the talking heads and doesn't have as many cool visual opportunities as some of the previous issues, but it's still wonderful storytelling. When talking heads look this great, it's hard to complain. His character design continues to be one of his greatest strengths, showing a much wider variety of people on every page than most comics even attempt in an entire issue (or arc). Malus appears for the first time in this issue and the design, though it plays into our obvious expectations about evil a bit, is still compelling illustration work.
"Rachel Rising" is thus far one of my favorite offerings from Terry Moore as he perfectly blends and contrasts a story and characters that feel entirely realistic with fantastic elements of horror and mystery. This particular issue is not a standout from the pack, but the series as a whole so far is one of his best.