Writer and artist Terry Moore of Abstract Studio produces yet another exhilarating set of “issues” in the fourth volume of Rachel Rising – Winter Graves. The story begins with a flashback, indicating a major revelation in the storyline for Rachel and her best friend, Jet. Lilith, standing before an older womyn, attempts to persuade her to let her mentor her daughter, Bryn Erin, to the child’s full potential.

Meanwhile, Rachel slowly regains consciousness after being poisoned by Carol, and does everything she can to save her aunt with the help of Dr. Sieman. Malus continues to mentor Zoe on her path of self-destruction and our favorite characters regain their memories of their past lives. This only leads off to a face-off with Lilith, along with unlikely alliances.

Trade Highlights (Some Spoilers)

Winter Graves is by far the best in the Rachel Rising series thus far. Even though there are two more already published trades (Night Cometh and Secrets Kept), only recently Issue #40 was published and there has been no word as to when the run will cede. My opinion will most likely change once I progress!

To begin, with highlights, here’s a not-so-much of a newsflash: Dr. Sieman is a sleaze. There’s literally nothing else to say about him. He’s a pervert and he finally admitted the truth about his wife to Johnny with disgusting intentions.

The first spread of panels in Issue #20 is a poem by an unknown nineteenth-century author. After googling the poem, I wanted to see if any origins have been concluded. My search lead me to Jack the Ripper. The disturbing poem that sounds creative, but knowing where the roots of this poem leads to is bone-chilling.

One issue that deserves nothing but praise is Issue #24 – the final comic in this trade. To reiterate, this is not an easy comic for me to place down and come back to it a week later or so. My eyes were glued. The ultimate stand-off between Lilith and Rachel took place. I actually re-read it four times.

I’m a choir girl gone horribly, desperately wrong. – Florence Welch

The Choir of Souls has sung and not only were the screams something to fear, but to be praised. Ninety-seven young womyn hanging by their assigned nooses as they did generations ago on Firehill.

Other highlights in this particular trade was Zoe’s “final” stand-off with Malus, the microbus panels (mostly because of the microbus; one of my favorite cars), and the various Victorian-era references.

Jack the Ripper

Yeah, that guy. The story of Zoe’s new companion, “Jack,” her knife given to her by Malus is stated to be older than time itself. We discover that the knife if not a knife, but a sword that has been consistently shaved down since its first owner (Issue #24 alludes to who the sword may belong to). In Cemetery Songs, “Father” Malus illustrates the past with great detail of how Zoe’s grandfather was one of the knife’s caretakers and now, she named it after him – Jack.

When reading this part in Cemetery Songs, I wasn’t dawdling on the suspicion that her grandfather was the infamous Jack the Ripper, who butchered prostitutes between August through November of 1888. Until I did some research on (the real) Jack and how he may tie into the story, I didn’t think it was possible. For the first time in this trade, we learn it is the year 2013. Nah, can’t be… I thought to myself.

This trade made me realize it is possible for Zoe to be the granddaughter of Jack the Ripper. She’s over fifty years old. Computing the math, Zoe was born in the early 1950s – more than enough wiggle room to be considered for a match on ancestry.com.

For more information on Jack the Ripper and his knife:
Jack the Ripper: Is This Six-Inch Knife Used by the Victorian Serial Killer? Via www.telegraph.co.uk

Closing Remarks

Some of my remarks throughout this review may seem a bit off to those who aren’t wooed by Terry Moore as I’ve been, following his series one trade at a time. Nowadays, horror is a tough genre to appease to wide audiences where many attributes are constantly reworked and reproduced to the point where people are getting tired of it. Although Moore is guilty of some of these charges on certain accounts (or issues in this case), his ability to convey numerous storylines over the course of forty issues and intertwining subplots is to be commended.

To purchase Rachel Rising – Winter Graves, click here.

Publisher: Robyn Moore

All images used with permission of the publisher.
Full Disclosure: The reviewer received a copy of the comic for review.