By: Terry Moore (story/art/letters)

The Story: Reincarnated witches plan evil things for a small town.

Review (with minor SPOILERS): Perhaps this issue requires a closer reading, but there is a feeling that not much happened.  Many of the events of this issue felt like the reinforcement of information we already knew and that made the issue less than fulfilling.  Quality….but not what I’d hoped for.  We already knew that this town had a “Salem Witch Trial” moment in the past and that somehow, the spirits of those murdered women are returning to life and want revenge against the town and the descendants of their tormentors.  And we also already knew that the titular Rachel is supposed to be one of these witches, but for some reason, her death/possession didn’t work and she still thinks of herself as “Rachel” and not some ancient witch.  This issue mostly strolls through that same garden of themes and it leaves the reader wishing that the series would “get on with it”.

However, this issue still has some really strong moments that demonstrate the quality of the series.  For example, Terry Moore has created a wonderful character in little Zoe.  Zoe was the 12-ish girl who spent decades being possessed by the evil spirit Malus and during that time of possession, she saw some pretty wicked things while Malus controlled her body.  Now that Malus has left her, Zoe is a pretty interesting character.  For one thing, as a reader, we worry about her because she looks like a little girl.  She might actually be the oldest human in the story, but she looks like a kid….and we just feel this instinctive desire to shelter her.  But, Zoe is also cursed with knowing what is going on.  I don’t think she knows ALL the details, but she is clearly aware that some serious crap is about to go down in her little town.  However, since she looks like a kid, nobody is going to listen to her.  Zoe is almost a proxy for the reader: She knows bad things are about to happen, but she also can’t do much to affect the action.

The other affecting part of this issue is the relationship between possibly-dead Jet and Edgar, the dumpy mortuary worker.  They’re not a normal pairing: the pretty party girl and the shy, dorky, fat guy.  But, Moore doesn’t handle the relationship like it’s just a geek fantasy (“Just be nice and show the pretty girl who you are inside and they’ll fall in love with you.”).  There’s something warm and touching about their relationship.  It seems like Edgar really cares about Jet and wants to see her rise again from her mortuary slab.  Whether he’ll like the creature that opens its eyes is another matter entirely.

The only character who is a bit of a blank slate is Rachel.  She just doesn’t have much to do but wander from scene to scene.  She’s almost like a tour guide that gives the reader an excuse to observe the action and Rachel is always the one who has things explained to her (so that we can understand).  I wonder if Rachel will remain this passive or if there is a more active role in her future.

What more needs to be said about Terry Moore’s art?  The guy is just amazing.  Even in an issue like this where the story spins its wheels, there are so many visual things to latch onto like how well he draws Rachel’s hair or how effectively he draws a wicked facial expression on the faces of the witches.  I’m so glad this series isn’t colored because I think 99% of colorists would screw up his fine linework.

Conclusion: Even in an uneventful issue, Terry Moore’s quality shines through.  I wish the story would move past this middle phase a little faster, but I can’t deny the craft of this comic.

Grade: B

– Dean Stell