Terry Moore's (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) tale of resurrected witches, demon possessed girls, the machinations of Lilith the First Woman, and the journey of his protagonist Rachel (of the title Rachel Rising) continues as the demon Malus, who is plaguing the town along with Lilith, makes a startling move involving Rachel's best friend (who's also been recently resurrected) and the town's holy man.
Full of dark penciled tones as well as dark thematic undertones which address the relationships between men and women, some of which are portrayed as sweet and innocent and others as predatory (with both sexes being the predator at different times), and wrapped in a story surrounding the New England town of Manson's hanging and abuse of some (fictional) real life witches 300 years ago, Rachel Rising is one of the absolute best comic books being published right now. Writer/artist Terry Moore has given us some great stories before, but Rachel Rising (which is slated to remain as an ongoing title as long as sales hold up) is a step above his previous work.
Terry Moore is an artist of a rare caliber. His female characters are some of the most strikingly beautiful that I've ever seen drawn. Not because of their grossly exaggerated anatomy or impossibly perfect features, but because of their real life look and incredibly well developed and realistic personalities. A large portion of Moore's appeal and talent rests with the fact that he can write convincing female characters whose actions and emotions are highly realistic. This goes for his male characters as well, but it takes a writer of real insight to convincingly write (and draw) realistically compelling characters of the opposite sex.
Speaking of gender, Rachel Rising is also packed full of subtle, yet striking, gender role/gender conflict themes. Yes, this is a work of horror fiction, but like the best gothic tales of old, Rachel Rising is using the horror to address real life topics metaphorically, and adroitly. The setting and subject matter remind me of the type of gender conflict/guilt issues, dark New England setting, and gothic atmosphere that writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne utilized to great literary affect in his novels (The Scarlet Letter) and short stories (Ethan Brand, Young Goodman Brown). Moore, like Hawthorne, is using various gothic and historical tropes to address real life issues.
Easily the work that should top most reviewers and smart readers' 2012 Best Of Lists, Rachel Rising is one of those rare titles that comes along only once in a while. You should be reading, and more importantly enjoying, it while it lasts.