Saturday, January 21, 2012

Talking Trades: Echo by Terry Moore

Terry Moore is a rare talent. While it’s not unusual for comic creators to both write and draw their comics on a regular schedule (Erik Larson, for example) few do it better than Terry Moore. Echo is a complete 30 issue story, his second after the 90-issue Strangers in Paradise. Echo is a very different story to Strangers though. Moore uses elements of science fiction, action and espionage, mixing them together in a gripping and beautiful gumbo of awesome.


Echo follows Julie Martin, an ordinary young woman with an ordinary life who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. While taking photographs in the desert, she inadvertently witnesses a military test that goes horribly awry. She is rained on by a strange metal alloy that attaches itself to her skin. One thing leads to another and Julie is on the run from the government, who are out to retrieve the alloy so it can be properly weaponised. Terry Moore describes the series as ‘The Fugitive meets The X Files’, an apt description. The science fiction elements are minimal but powerful and used to great effect. The alloy and other technology in the book are not that far removed from reality, which makes for gripping reading. Moore plays with the ideas of science and spirit, human achievement and human nature. There is no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters, just people. Each character, from the protagonist Julie to the bored gas attendant, is unique. They’re each people you could bump into and not miss a beat.

Terry Moore’s art is, as always, amazing. The man is clearly dedicated to, and passionate about, his craft. Things like the way clothing sits on a body and the way gravity affects hair and breasts are important details in realistic art, and Moore takes great care in ensuring these details are evident in his work. It also comes as no surprise that the women in Echo are strong both artistically and in character. This has always been one of Moore’s greatest strengths. The characters vary in weight and size, and everything *ahem
* is in the right proportions. They are real, relatable woman and react to situations like real, relatable women. Moore’s lines are crisp, his composition is interesting and his content is detailed and realistic. Each character is unique and expressive. Moore is one of my all time favourite artists, which is no mean feat, considering he’s one of my all time favourite writers, as well.

At 30 issues long, Echo can be read in 4 hours or so, and you’ll want to set yourself that time, because once you open the cover of the first trade, there’s no stopping. It’s as gripping as it is beautiful, as engaging as it is powerful. Echo is set in the same world as strangers in Paradise, and fans of Strangers get some service towards the end of the book, with a familiar character showing up. I can’t recommend Echo highly enough. 5 stars.

The complete edition is $39.95 and contains all 30 issues.

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