In 2008, Terry Moore returned from a year long hiatus from comic publication. His absence was due to completion of his previous comic series of 13 years, Strangers in Paradise (SIP). SIP, a much beloved indie comic, was a complicated tale told in a realistic style with a dedicated fan-base addicted to the intensely personal quality of the main characters’ interaction. It mixed several sub-genres – romance, crime drama, and autobiography – while always feeling fresh and compelling.
Needless to say, expectations for Moore’s new series, Echo, ran very high. Moore would go on to easily meet them over the course of thirty issues. That he managed to do so despite Echo being a science fiction drama with a main character that is – for all intents and purposes – a superhero was quite an achievement.
Here is a brief summary of the plotline:
“Julie is in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes an unwilling participant in a web of murder and deceit that becomes nuclear! She is forced to find the maker of the atomic plasma that has rained down on her. As the plasma grows, she gets closer and closer to answers with the help of the original owner of the atomic suit she now wears. A lunatic with powers from the plasma is determined to take Julie and her suit for his own and destroys everything that stands in his way. Julie’s mission becomes too hot for her to handle alone and along with Ivy and Dillon, she must stop the makers of the suit from harnessing the plasma for their own destructive use.” - http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Complete-Ter ... 1892597489
The same loving attention to the interactions between characters that were the hallmark of SIP can be found in Echo. The art is rendered in a deceptively simple, crisp black and white style but each character is detailed and the composition is such that you want to linger over each page, sometimes even a single panel. At the same time, Moore keeps the action moving so that you cannot help but turn the next page.
One of my favorite sequences in Echo is close to the end when Julie, Dillion, and Ivy are closing in on their final destination. Ivy has been affected by prolonged contact with the strange radiation and is actually growing younger by the day. At this junction, she has reverted to being an impulsive, snarky teenager. Julie, something of an emotional wreck due to care for her sick sister and an impending divorce, is thrust into the role of the organized adult. The banter between the two characters is not only hilarious but rings true with regard to the antagonistic relationship between teens and adults.
This edition collects all thirty issues but is not just a trade paperback collection. Weighing in at 590 pages and telling a complete story, Echo clearly deserves to be called a “graphic novel” in the full sense of this often misused term. It includes all covers plus some sketch work that shows the visual development of various characters.
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If you are interested in learning more about Terry Moore’s works - including his newest series, Rachel’s Rising - you can click here.