Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death review by The Black Sparrow

‘Delayed Reaction’

Review of Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death

Introduction to our new writer The Black Sparrow

 

The elegant and subtle cover for Rachel Rising Vol.1
The elegant and subtle cover for Rachel Rising Vol.1

So, the other day I was chatting with Richard about his blog and this comic he had recently given me for my birthday, and he had the great idea to suggest I write a review. Um, A few reasons why that is more challenging than “great” I’ll do that:

a) I’ve probably read, glanced at or purused as many comics in my life as a typically reviewer in the industry has read, digested and obsessed over in a week.

b) The last time I sat down to write something for the reading pleasure of others was when typing was accompanied by a “zip… ding!” sound. And lastly (although I am sure, during the course of this communication, you will unearth other reasons…)

c) Rachel Rising isn’t new or current or on-trend. Ok, wait, I take that back. Hot gal rising from the dead could very well be considered on-trend. But it certainly ain’t new in this world of streaming news with 2 second content updates.

So, there you have it.  Still with me?

First thing I did after Richard suggested I write this review was wait several days, then I remembered I gave myself a week’s deadline, and so next I looked up the artist Terry Moore, who I have some history with when I read his ‘Strangers in Paradise’ series some years ago. [Ahem. I’m sincerely hoping my Editor will fix my “that should be bold not quoted, underlined not italicized” errors. Hint Hint.] Editor’s note: I did indeed “fix” it with the thingies that are close to quotation marks. We use our own methods and writing style here at ‘Fear and Gaming in New Vegas.’ We use italics to indicate when there is an editor’s note. 🙂 Back to the review.

Actually, if memory serves, I devoured that particular series when freshly out of the house & toying with a somewhat-difficult-to-label relationship. Flash forward almost 20 years and I find myself in a comic shop with my dude, a fan and the aforementioned writer, editor & bloggerer. (shhh, I’m sure that is a word somewhere.) Editors noteThat is not a word, but allowed just the same. I see Rachel Rising. I like it.  I don’t buy it. Not unusual for me, but that’s something to discuss in a different forum- Perhaps a sofa. Anyway. Flash forward again to one Year Later… and I have ‘Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death‘ in hand.

First off, and you will see this is any review ever written of Terry Moore, the man knows how to draw a gal. It  is immediately apparent that these gals have (gasp!) not spent their short well-drawn lives waist-training in torture corsets. They have hips, thighs, arms, and adorable button noses. They have stomachs. Not teeny rib bones that can miraculously lift up size 36EE boobs in a single bound, but stomachs that seem like they belong on bodies not Q-tips. And boobs that have encountered gravity without the secret weapon of female comic art everywhere: the magic-conic bra that forms breasts into perfect pert parts of unattainable glory. This alone makes me praise the art, however Moore’s talent doesn’t rely on body-positive realism alone. For me, his art was user-friendly with a ridiculous attention to detail that complimented the story vs. confusing it.

However, who am I to review a comic’s artwork or story arch? A layman. A person with absolutely zero “geek” cred, aside from my Marvel undershirt I wear to make my guy think I look hot. So that’s my slant. A comic for the uninitiated. A comic for your partner that doesn’t really “get” it but appreciates you for it.  A comic for your friend that likes your fandom posts or ‘lols’ your superhero memes, but shares yoga grrrl links more than IGN.  (Not to say this comic isn’t for die-hard fans… even in my limited research, I saw plenty of raves from those in the know!)  He or she will dig the characters, the simplicity in the drawing and the storyline that blurs zombie-esque undead with real world problems of bourgeois b.s. in the bathroom. They may miss the nuisance of textures, the brilliance of not overdrawing the scene in every panel and the organized structure that progresses-not just that immediate scene, but also the overall story.  But it won’t matter.  Because chances are, they will be hooked and you’ll get to claim another convert-notch on your belt.

 

-The BS (That’s Ms. Sparrow to you)

 

 

Written by

Terry Moore

Art by

Terry Moore

Genres

Horror Leading Ladies Supernatural/Occult Suspense

About Book

Page Count

152 Pages

Print Release Date

March 28 2012

Digital Release Date

April 4 2012

Age Rating

15+ Only

Copyright

Terry Moore.

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Moon Knight by Warren Ellis #1-3 review

‘Delayed reaction’ Moon Knight #1-3

Including a five page preview of #1

MOONKN2014001_DC11Moon Knight has a mixed and manic past as a comic character. Bi-polar even. He’s been penned and drawn by some comicbook heavyweights and rookies. He’s taken on the biggest and most powerful characters, and been tasked with chasing down street punks. He’s even held the head of Ultron and was haunted by Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Moon Knight’s unintentionally erratic past as a comicbook property mirrors the character’s different personalities in several ways. For some reason, hopefully other than Marvel’s need to renew the copyright, Marvel gives him another series. The last limited run by Brian Michael Bendis was a great series, with a different take on Moon Knight’s mental illness that saw him move to Los Angeles. Thankfully, the new series sees him return to New York.

The latest iteration of Moon Knight has, or had, by now, Warren Ellis as word and story-smith, and in many ways, redefines Moon Knight. Redefining is probably the wrong way to describe it. Marvel and Ellis strip away a lot of the veneer and trappings of Moon Knight: the costume, the at times overbearing focus on Khonshu and his past, the guest appearances and focus on his mental illness. The Warren Ellis Moon Knight starts as a singular vision and personality. A professional. He’s almost a force of nature.

The first issue starts with a very different Moon Knight. Dressed in all white with black complimentary colors, he makes his way to a crime scene in the Moon Knight version of the Google self-driving car. He is dressed like an assassin with a mask and 4-piece suit with magician’s gloves. He’s clinical with little pretense. He uses his intelligence and experience and little else. He inhabits and traverses a very dark section of New York City like an alley cat through, well, an alley.

Moon Knight picks up the trail of a killer that is waylaying well-built travelers and must track the killer because, of course, the detective and police department can’t find him. One of my pet peeves with the Marvel universe is that the police, government and those in positions of authority are utterly helpless without the help of superheros. Another thing I don’t like is Marvel’s over-reliance on S.H.I.E.L.D. They are all-powerful and seem to be connected to everything. Moving on.

The Warren Ellis Moon Knight lives in a sparsely populated New York. There is still a dull energy that ebbs and thumps underneath, and it somehow reminds me of a bygone comic era. Ellis doesn’t take himself too seriously though, and in issue 3, even pokes fun at an old comic standby;the punk-rock bad guy. Even when using the trope and peering through the 4th wall, Ellis cleverly adds in his own slants.

 

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As you move through issue #2, another aspect of Moon Knight reveals itself in a more traditional Moon Knight. The Moon Knight that has been heavily criticized as a Batman knock-off. He uses detective skills and an intimidating and over the top fear factor to get information. He’s rich and uses gadgets, and even has a dark and traumatic past. I can see the differences in Moon Knight from Batman of course, but I can also acknowledge the similarities. While we’re discussing that, it does also remind me that comics seem to rely on a few archetypes. The rich-playboy Tony Stark/ Marc Spector/ Bruce Wayne type, and the nerdy scientist good guys and villians.

So, the old-school Moon Knight shows up to chase down an assassin, who in turn is stalked by an assassin. The comic is glaringly stark with its choice of colors and the lack of sound. The comic uses that lack of sound, or sound-effects expertly and the panels that Ellis chooses give a phenomenal sense of space and drama. Issue #2, like every other issue leaves many questions. But like every issue, is a sufficient self-contained story.

 

 

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Issue #3 explores the parts of New York that can only be done properly in comicbook form. That barely lit and nearly empty part of New York that if lighted properly, would reveal things that should not be, and show evidence left behind that we would rather not know was there. Issue #3 starts just on the edge of that part of New York, where that line blurs and things start to get lighter. This is where Moon Knight encounters his first obstacle, and must lean on Khonshu and his vast stores of information and experience. The previously mentioned punk-rockers are much more dangerous than they appear, and Moon Knight must explore a different side of himself.

Throughout issues 1-3, Moon Knight is being rebuilt. Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey and team creatively reveal his background through conversations and encounters, and it never really feels like it’s going on. Shalvey is subtle in his approach and when Moon Knight jumps into action, it is explosive. Faces are expressive and the way he pulls attention towards the focal point of every panel is perfect for Ellis’ writing.

Moon Knight is broken down and rebuilt, and he even dwells in a dusty mansion with a few chairs and cobwebs fit for a Boris Karloff set, with colors that seem weary. Khonshu’s appearances are powerful, although appear subdued. Whenever the demi-god appears, it seems as though he is finally fed-up with Moon Knight and will devour his soul whole. Knonshu never does though. He keeps giving Moon Knight another chance, just like Marvel and I do.

The new Moon Knight is one of my favorite comic runs ever. I read through Moon Knight via my Marvel Unlimited subscription (which I can view on my iPad, iPhone and Mac. The browser version sucks quite frankly.) and the preview and images were provided by Marvel.

 

Moon Knight 1-3 by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey

Richard Paul Davis

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