In the opening sequence of Rachel Rising, a woman walks through the forest. Black birds and trees engulfed in shadow immediately set the atmosphere for the story and create an ominous tone. As the mysterious woman gets to a clearing, the focus zooms out. Looking far below, she watches silently as arms and legs claw their way out from a shallow grave until finally a young woman with blood-shot eyes and a bruise around her neck emerges and stumbles away. The young woman, Rachel, has no memory of what happened to her. Rachel makes her way to her Aunt Johnny’s, a mortician and her only living relative, where she gets startling news: Rachel was murdered days prior and there is no logical reason for her being alive. And so begins Rachel’s journey to track down her killer and find out why she was killed—and more importantly, why she came back to life.
Meanwhile, more killings are taking place around the town of Manson. At the center, pulling strings and manipulating people into murdering those who have wronged them, is the mysterious woman, visible only to those who have killed or have recently risen. Rachel soon realizes that a larger plan is in play and it may be related to the horrific event in her town’s history when women were burned at the stake for witchcraft.
Rachel Rising is a strong series opener and ends in a way that will leave readers eager for future installments. Moore’s black and white art and his expertise at drawing realistic characters make Rachel Rising stand out. Moore expertly utilizes the graphic novel medium to share this haunting tale, knowing when to use text and when panels will be more effective without dialogue or caption boxes. Recommend to older teens and adults who like psychological horror that relies on good storytelling rather than gore to make its impact.
At the time of this review, the Rachel Rising series seems to only be available from Diamond Comic Distributors. However, Moore’s upcoming Rachel Rising panel at New York Comic Con may lead to new editions with wider availability.
Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death 1
by Terry Moore
Abstract Studio, 2012