Man. I’m really kinda hatin’ on DC right now. At some point after my post a couple of months ago about how I was going to try to be all positive and optimistic about DC, I read a bunch of crap that I didn’t like, and I’m back to being all cantankerous again. The latest thing to get me riled up into a ball of rage is the news about Wonder Woman. They’re changing (read: retconning) her origin. I was all ready to jump on the Brian Azzarello band wagon here and proclaim him Wondy’s savior until I heard this.
I think this is all part of the cause of my not reading comics lately. I’m just kind of sick of all the hype, and it’s EVERYWHERE. Running to the Marvel shelves is no different, as almost everything I see is slathered with a “Fear Itself” label. Can we come right out and admit that the story is awful? It’s not a good event, if there is such a thing. It’s just plain bad, and reeks of being haphazardly put together. The only thing tied to Fear Itself that I’m even remotely interested in is Journey into Mystery, and that’s because that book is awesome no matter what. Kieron Gillen is writing the heck out of that.
I have to think aloud and wonder if perhaps the fight against the hype is a losing battle—it’s essentially become the nature of comics, but I’m not convinced it should be. Just tell a good story, guys. That’s all anybody wants. Amirite?
No? Okay, fine, I’ll shut up. Reviews!
HUUUNNNNTTTRRREEESSSSSS. I love the Huntress. What’s not to love about her? She’s Italian, she has pretty black hair, and she’s a total badass. I was eager to get my Huntress fix when they announced this six-issue mini. Gotta admit, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go down—the frightening Guillem March cover leaves much to be desired, and I wasn’t hugely confident in Paul Levitz behind the pen despite being her creator (kinda). It was kind of a “YAAYYY HUNTREEESSSS … oh, wait. What?” reaction, which seems to be the case a lot with DC and me these days.
Anyway. I read this, and you know what? The art was AWESOME. It’s the first thing that hit me and it’s the best part of the book, hands-down. Marcus To, I had no idea who you were before this, but count me amongst the legion of fans I’m certain you’ve secured after KILLING IT on this. Helena has never looked so good. Like, literally—and I’m wicked going to be a girl here—some of the outfits To draws her in are simple and elegant and fashionable, I was like “Where can I buy that? That’s awesome.” Then he throws on her Huntress uniform and she’s another person entirely, and it brings even more of the awesome. Especially when she’s kicking some dude in the jaw. Kick it, Huntress! The choreography in one of the fight scenes is so perfectly illustrated—along with Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman #1, I would say they’re the two best fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. Top this book off with a head nod to the colorist, because the colors were beautiful and makes To look that much more talented.
So the art’s great. The story? Meh. Okay, it’s maybe a little better than “meh.” It’s actually not bad at all, it’s just not particularly ground-breaking. Huntress goes to Italy to break up a slave ring/drug ring/what-have-you. We’ve read this story before, right? So it’s really not baaaddddd, it’s just … well, it’s just what it is. I will say that the first issue lays a groundwork that’s full of potential, and the next five issues could very well turn up the heat and hit us with a surprise or two. I hope they do, because I’ll go as far as to say this was one of the New 52 I’ve actually really liked. In a sea of mediocre, I liked this. Let’s build off that, please, Mr. Levitz.
Mystic. We continue where we left off in number two, with lessons in the mystic arts and that witchy mean girl whose name I forget trying to sabotage the main character at every turn. I enjoyed the heck out of the first two issues of this, but issue three seemed to hit a lull somehow. Actually, that’s not really fair … it’s not so much a “lull” as it’s just that I can tell the story is being rushed and condensed to accommodate the fact there’s only four issues in which to tell it. The snag was bound to be somewhere, and it feels like it’s right here. When you reach the last page and realize the conclusion is coming up next, it’s kind of hard to take. There’s SO MUCH MORE we could be reading here. You can tell that G. Willow Wilson has put a lot of thought into this world and these characters, and it feels terribly unfair that we won’t get to explore any more of it as of next month.
So that makes me frown a bit. I know it’s all going to unravel too quickly as of issue four. I wish that weren’t a basis of judgment on this issue, but it is. Still, as little story as we’re getting, I’ll gladly take it over no story at all.
Not to mention there is always the saving grace that is David Lopez. I can’t get over how wonderful his stuff is here. Forget about all of the mechanics of drafting a comic book page—forget about all the transitions, the backgrounds, the panels. Let’s just talk about facial expressions, because that one skill alone is what absolutely MAKES this book. Lopez is an undisputed master of facial expressions, and as such, the emotions of each character come at you unapologetically. And it’s so, so good. You know something? If you were to take out all the speech bubbles and all the text on every page, I bet you’d still know exactly what was going on in the story. That is the mark of an excellent artist, and Mr. Lopez is at the top of his game here. I adore him for it. If the narrative of the next issue were to completely tank, I’d still love this for the artwork alone.
I’ll be sad when it’s over, but after Mystic concludes, I’d follow these two creators anywhere.
I remember reading an interview with Terry Moore that announced Rachel Rising as his newest project. In the interview, Mr. Moore discussed his desire to do a horror book—something scary and haunting, and I remember thinking to myself … really? Terry Moore doing a horror book?
I wasn’t convinced it would work. Nothing against the guy—in fact I have proclaimed my undying love for him here before—but I just couldn’t picture it based on his previous work.
I stand corrected.
This is creepy as &@%$.
Wow. Don’t get me wrong, it’s creepy in a good way. In an excellent way. Aside from one or two things (Walking Dead), I generally despise horror as a genre. But, this is Terry Moore, so of course I gravitate to it. And rightly so, because Rachel Rising, thus far, is great.
I’d typed up this whole big thing summarizing the greater parts of this issue, but then I re-read what I’d typed and couldn’t think of a way to get it across to you without ruining some of the suspense and build up. So I’m going to completely dump that and just let you judge for yourselves. Hopefully you’re picking this up. Unlike some of the stuff by the Big Two, it’s actually worth the $3.99.
So I’m starting to watch the new X-Men anime series that came out recently. The opening scene in the first episode revolves around Cyclops screaming “Jeeeaaaaaannnnnnnn!” several times. Priceless. Also, Phoenix is in it, and each one of her individual um … “assets” … is larger than her head. By like, miles. More gruesome details to potentially follow if I ever get through more episodes.
YEAH! THIS! VERY THIS! This is what I wanted from this book! Amazing. So, I never read any of the original Crossgen titles back when they were around. I checked out Marvel’s versions of Ruse and Sigil recently, so I thought—okay. Mystic. Let’s do this. G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez as a team has to be good, right? I’m ashamed to say I have not read Wilson’s Air, nor her Cairo, but I’ve heard great things and they’re definitely in the “to be read” pile. I also loved Lopez on Hawkeye & Mockingbird, and seeing some of his preview pages for this instantly guaranteed I’d check it out. While I can’t comment on this book in relation to its previous incarnation, I can only address what I’ve read here. And what I read here is wonderful.
The story focuses on two orphans, Giselle and Genevieve, trapped in a boarding house and working to pay off the “debt” they’ve incurred to their headmistress for feeding them (slop), clothing them (rags), etc. Set in a steampunk world called Hyperion and rendered beautifully by Lopez, Genevieve aspires to learn all she can about the “noble arts” and to become a mystic apprentice. Giselle, the more realistic and/or pessimistic of the two, has pretty much resigned herself to the idea of life in the boarding house despite its misery. The girls are eventually caught sneaking into an off-limits area of the house, and they subsequently manage to flee, climbing over and past the fence that cages them in. What happens next is the best part of the story, so I won’t spoil it for you.
Some of the unfortunate clichés we begin with here—the boarding house as a prison; the seemingly evil and mean headmistress; etc.—are pretty much the only strikes I have against this story. Even then, I feel like much of that can be blamed on the fact that this is only a miniseries—you really can’t take up much time building an elaborate setup—and I’d wager that Wilson had to make this concession for the sake of fitting more pertinent things into the next three issues. I’ll give her that leeway under the assumption that the rest of the story will pick up the slack, and frankly, even a cliché-laden start is better than most original starts on other minis. I need only point to the Wolverine and the Black Cat for evidence there.
As a whole, I loved this first issue. Who’s the colorist on this—Nathan Fairbairn? I’m unfamiliar with him, but he deserves a major nod—the colors on this book are FANTASTIC. Wow—just excellent stuff. Really gives life to Lopez’s pencils. It kind of reminds me of something out of a Disney movie—it feels like these characters can just leap off the page any minute and start singing a musical number about their hardships. I don’t know about you, but that’s a plus for me. Bring on issue #2.
I’m in love with Terry Moore. Desperately in love (don’t tell the Boyfriend).
Terry Moore is my hero, he really is. I had the incredible pleasure of meeting him at Boston Comic Con this year, and he was just such a stand up guy, you know? Unfailingly nice and I totally wanted to be a spaz and just hang around his table all day. But, I’m guessing that would have freaked him out and I really didn’t need a repeat of what happened with Frank Quitely. The point is, Terry Moore is completely amazing, and I will buy anything with his name on it. I would buy a home prostate exam if it said “created by Terry Moore” on the box.
So when I heard about Rachel Rising coming out, I was aaaaalllllllllll over this like white on rice. I’ve only ever read Mr. Moore’s works in collected formats—Strangers in Paradise is one of my favorite series of all time, and I’m anxious to pick up the complete edition of Echo that was just released. With Rachel Rising, though, I thought I’d try another way of reading Terry Moore by picking up each individual issue as it’s released … and so far, it’s a vastly different experience.
This title begins hauntingly, as it opens with the main character literally digging her way out of her own grave. It’s apparent to the reader right off the bat that something is terribly wrong with her—I mean, in addition to the fact that she’s seemingly come back to life from what we presume to be her murder. Rachel is disoriented in making her way back from her grave to her home. She has no memory of what’s occurred, nor does she seem to notice at first the strangulation marks on her neck or the spooky manner in which her eyes change color. Her house cat, for one, doesn’t want to go near her—that alone should be a pretty big tipoff. Moore breaks the issue into scene parts and we learn just a little bit about her past life, but end with an alarming statement from another character—a statement on which I gather the rest of the series will decidedly rest.
The artwork, as always, is fantastic. I love that Mr. Moore does not color his work—it functions especially well on a book like this—and his lines, transitions, and panel work is crisp as it ever is. The only downside I can find to his art, if there is one at all, would be that the main characters from his books tend to look very similar. Rachel looks a lot like Katchoo from SiP, who also looks a lot like the girl from Echo. But honestly—if that’s the worst thing about this, I’ll happily take it. And with a guy as talented as Moore, I have to believe the similarities are intentional. If I have any real complaints here, it’s just the fact that I’m not getting enough story. I desperately want more. I want the next issue right now, and I want to know what went down that got Rachel to that grave. While I don’t typically go for horror as a genre (Walking Dead aside), I don’t mind it if it has a purpose, and if the storytelling is good, then I’m there. There’s no question I’m on this ride ‘til the end.
Mr. Moore had this to say about the series on his blog:
Can Rachel rise above the glass ceiling of indy books and break into the Top 100? That would be a first for me. Eighteen years of books, and I’ve never been in the Top 100. Ultimately, I don’t decide that… you do. I know the comics industry is particularly preoccupied right now, but I’m going to do everything I can to make Rachel impossible to ignore. Anything you can do to help her find recognition in our hero-centric comics world would be great, because everything you post gets reposted by a dozen other people and so on and when a lot of people talk about something, things happen.
So, what do you think? Will you support Rachel Rising? Will you forego at least some of the anticipated garbage you know will come out of “the New 52” and “Fear Itself” in order to support an independent like this? Give it a shot. Rachel—and Terry Moore—are worth it.