Echo v1 Moon Lake - Terry Moore, Abstract Studio $15.95
I was very excited to see the Echo trade paperback on the shelf today. I had missed being able to collect the floppies since I don't think they ever hit the shelves at my local comic shop. I have a great store near me with top notch people who work there, but I think economics keep them from getting shelf copies of a lot of non mainstream stuff. They have almost never failed to get things in for me when I ask for them, but I do prefer some degree of browsing and impulse buying .
I saved it for last, after I finished reading my haul of individual issues, and had time to post about them. I was able to read it in one sitting, and wish I had more of it already.
As in Strangers In Paradise, Moore once again gives us a nice mix of compelling characters, all of whom had lives going on before we started watching them. Julie Martin is in the middle of a divorce that she doesn't want to finalize, brought on to some degree by her effectively losing her whole family all within the past year. She is out taking pictures to beef up her portfolio when she is witness to something she can't fully understand.
In the skies overhead, a woman named Annie is coming to realize that she is not long for the world. She is test piloting a top secret 'super-suit' and loving it until it becomes evident that she is going to be blown up in the air as part of the testing by her superiors. We only see Annie for a brief time, but she was already immediately likable. She is the first person you see in the book, and then not too long after that, she is blown up and raining down on the countryside.
Julie Martin sees the explosion and takes pictures before she and her truck are covered in small beads of matter. Several pages later, Julie will be stuck in a breastplate of silvery metal with a tendancy for electrocuting people when it sees fit to do so.
After this, we meet Julie's soon to be ex-husband rick, Annie's boyfriend and all around decent guy Dillon Murphy, an NSB investigator Ivy Raven who we first see playing with her toddler before getting on a plane to go aid the search for the remains of the suit, Julie's sister Pam who is institutionalized with only a fleeting grasp on reality, a host of bikers, and a homeless guy who thinks he's god and has some amount of the device himself.
The book is a really great introduction to a new story. Plenty of characters, plenty of things to care about, lots of unanswered questions, and interesting people on all sides of the central conflicts. The art is clean and pretty. Characters are expressive, and I can tell them apart for the most part. They seem like real people. The storytelling is efficient and crams a ton of stuff in without seeming rushed and without skimping on anything.
I am hoping that it maintains this level and is able to run to whatever completion Moore sees for it. No... I'm not going to marry Terry Moore... He just happens to have some decent stuff and I happen to be reading lot of it lately.