RACHEL RISING #34
“” (20 pages)
Stories & Art by: Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio
Cover Price: $3.99
I tread into foreign territory once more!! Pretty bold of me, no? A quote from bleak philosopher Nietzsche starts off things. Something about looking into the abyss and it looking back.
Rachel continues the quest to confront her killer. She pesters a gardener for the whereabouts of a Mr. Carroll Palmer. He is a Snowbird currently on extended vacay in Florida. Rachel presses the man for a precise date. She wants to know if Mr. Palmer was in town on Halloween (how appropriate). The gardener confirms that and states that he wasn’t gone til November (Wyclef Jean reference, peeps!) Enough months have passed that Rachel throws one more question in a most forceful manner. Mr. Palmer should return “next week”. She lets that stew as she walks back to her car. Rachel tells fellow zombie Zoe that if Palmer is the one who murdered her, the second he spots her she’ll have confirmation.
A lady in a black dress puts on a heavy pendant. She talks to herself in the mirror saying that the person whom she’ll be communicating with must have open ears. She dons a cloak, gets into her own wheels and takes off. In the field stands an elderly farmer who watches her depart. End interlude.
A hulk of a man named Earl (ah, Jason Lee) approaches a body shop asking for Jet. The mechanic under the car is protective and suspicious. Earl has the most innocent intentions: he brings a brown paper bag. It’s lunch. The person emerges and accepts the offer. It’s Jet herself! The consumption of victuals has sincere appreciation from the freckle-faced female. Earl breaks the ice by asking a personal question — Jet’s interest in automobiles. She chuckles, incredulous at the lightweight inquiry. She scoffs that most men might ask for a woman’s shoe size or her first kiss. The cracked ice becomes a flood when Earl mentions that he determined her size from seeing her at the morgue and that any competition for her affections is long gone. Ultra-icky!! Jet is speechless for a brief moment.
Things become a bit more intense when Jet informs him that cars remind her of her father. She needs balance is this mad world (Tears for Fears!). Autos are one of her outlets; jazz is the other. She finds her interests to be off. Earl disagrees with her. She points out the error in his judgment since he is an outcast confined to the morgue. She tries to let him down gently telling him she’s damaged goods embroiled in a hot mess. Jet assumes she’s undead but she’s not entirely sure. Earl doesn’t let up. With the simplest of gestures, he gets an answer and a girlfriend!! Upon brushing his massive mano against her cracked, chipped hand he asks her if she feels it. She affirms this. The fact that she actually gets a sensation him seals the deal. He has won her over. That was easy!
Zoe wants to get to know Rachel a bit better. She asks her about making ends meet. Rachel dispels the notion of being an heiress or trust-fund baby. It’s more plain than that: she works at an antique shop and gets paid year-round even when the owner is absent for a few months.
Zoe starts to show a nasty side. She wants Rachel to run over an elderly pedestrian because the woman sports a Nazi tattoo behind her ear. She even sticks her head out the window and speaks some German and calls the lady an “old crow”. Here’s where I’m lost but equally intrigued. Since this is my very first issue, I don’t have the entire backstory. Rachel comments that the knife Zoe is carrying belonged to the Most Hated Man in History. She’s trying to point out the hypocrisy. Zoe talks back by stating that Hitler was the Master Thief.
The question of the knife’s proprietor changes direction when another name is dropped: Lucifer. I must investigate!! Either way, it’s an evil artifact. Rachel poses a pertinent question: why does Zoe hang on to it? Matter-of-factly, Zoe tells her it’s the only one that can kill the Anti-Christ and if necessary, her own child. OOOHHH, dark stuff.
Rachel and Zoe pull up to what I can only assume is Rachel’s residence. They spot a truck that doesn’t belong in the neighborhood. They split up and Rachel cautions Zoe. She also tells her that the knife is not needed. Rachel spots the ebon-attired woman from a few pages back. She allowed herself entry as well as a cup of tea. Zoe recognizes her: Lilith, the Mother of All Demons!! That’s not a connotation, folks! Lilith sarcastically shows her joy in coming across the “little Ripper”. Another allusion that has raised my eyebrow. There is bad blood between those two. Rachel demands to know why Lilith is there. The hellion needs assistance in fending off the archangel Malus. Said individual wants to initiate an extinction level event. Zoe and Lilith’s history runs deep. The real reason Lilith is seeking Rachel is because they’re sisters. That’s a bombshell that Zoe neglected to drop!!
Point: “No man is strong enough for the wrong woman, Earl.” – Jet
Counter-point: “Because love is stronger than death.” – Earl
Embrace evil! Hitler, Jack the Ripper(?), Lilith, Lucifer, Malus. The baddest of the bad!!
Homophones: It just hit me!! Malus. Malice. ‘natch!
I never imagined indie comics could be so enriching!! I know of Terry Moore and his extensive opus STRANGERS in PARADISE. Sadly, I never read a single issue. I’m jonesing for that now as well as all thirty-three back issues of this series! He’s done work for four of the top five companies but this is his newest labour of love, after ECHO. Although I’m in the dark about the entire set-up, I can pretty much fill in the blanks for the main characters’ motivations. Mr. Moore’s style is straightforward but I was spellbound by this story. The dialogue is everyday speak without big words to impress or superfluous exposition. The sequence of events is fluid and flawless. There is no choppiness in the transition of scenes.
Mr. Moore has an affinity for females and it is extremely apparent. The feminist in me is singing his praises with a megaphone! Admittedly, I’m turned off by zombies/undead/walking dead yet I’m enamored with iZOMBIE from the CW. There’s much mystery behind the trio of young ladies (perhaps young is the wrong word): Rachel, Zoe, Jet. Appearances are deceiving here but I could see the red in Rachel’s eyes as she flared up with the anxiety of exacting revenge on her life-ender. Zoe has an infantile appearance but harbours a much older soul laden with resentment. Jet is the epitome of innocence that has been tainted by the darker forces of fate/life but remains bubbly and seeks balance. Lilith is quite attractive and doesn’t seem menacing in the least. She emits a bit of melodrama with a twist of sardonic humour identifying herself and stating the nature of her urgent business.
When you want something done right, DIY. Mr. Moore clearly adapted that adage ages ago. Taking on all tasks makes him a formidable creator. Going solo has him going places. I praise his distinct facial features and appreciate his attention to detail. This is a clutter-free book. There are only five characters and that is more than sufficient. Connections are established but the main plot and subplot remain apart as they should.
One final observation: it is a rarity for me to come across let alone peruse through a black-and-white book. The cover has me wondering: is that Rachel or Lilith? The Red Riding Hood-ish look is an interesting choice. I ask this of myself because of the dress and cloak. Lilith is obviously raven-haired but as I mentioned two paragraphs ago: things aren’t always what they seem 😉
Since I have to play catch-up, I give this gem of a read 33 out of 34 issues (97%)