The last graphic novel I reviewed just a week ago is about a woman who cannot be killed (Lazarus), and now I'm doing another one about yet another female character who is resurrected from the dead. It's a playful coincidence. The two stories have nothing much in common except that basic premise, however, and if I'm to be honest I think I much enjoyed Lazarus although that doesn't actually mean that Terry Moore's Rachel Rising doesn't hold up well as a series. If the first volume is any indication of how certifiably creepy and atmospheric everything is, then I will surely pick up the second volume someday.
Rachel Rising is about the titular female character who was strangled and left for dead as she was buried in a shallow grave next to what seemed to be implied as a land where witches used to live and do evil stuff? It's all speculative for now. The very first pages opened with Rachel walking out of said grave with fragmented memories as well as possessing literally bloodshot eyes and very discernible rope marks around her throat. Moore's illustrations are minimalist and drawn in black and white. The panels certainly make you feel as if you could be reading this on a Sunday paper, in spite of the macabre and gore that would be happening next as the chapters progress.
The story for the first volume The Shadow of Death unfolds in two ways. We have Rachel's side of the plot on one hand and this little girl character named Zoe on the other. Rachel sought the help of her aunt, Johnny, who is a mortician and her childhood friend Jet, to find out about her attacker and how and why in the fuck did she even get resurrected from death. Her character story as the heroine crosses with that of the secondary character Zoe's version of the events. Her side of the story is the more disturbing, filled with gruesome deaths. A malignant force in shape of a mysterious woman had taken control over Zoe's actions, making her do very bad things while she is still much aware of the deeds as she is committing them. At a crucial point in the narrative Zoe and Rachel finally cross paths but another awful tragedy strikes that would claim more lives than either of them could possibly imagine.
I like this series so far. The story is still half-baked and often shaky at best. Most of the time the evasive dialogue and lack of real action aside from people getting killed could get tiresome real fast, but just when the pacing and momentum feel like it's slowing down, Moore leaves readers with just enough incentive to keep them reading anyway, eager to solve the mystery surrounding Rachel's resurrection and whatever evil is about to spread in her hometown brought about by ritualistic sacrifices that heavily imply that this has all been a set-up for now and there is a storm that is about to come. Things may pick up by then.
I think I would recommend Rachel Rising to anyone who is looking for something gothic and enticingly creepy. It's digestible enough if not momentarily baffling in some places. It's still missing a real hook for me which is why I'm giving it a safe rating.