Julie Martin’s life is crumbling before her eyes. Bill collectors are constantly harassing her, a state brought about by her separation from her husband, who is angrily demanding that she sign the divorce papers he has served her. She barely has enough money to feed herself, let alone her dog, and she’s wracked with guilt over the mental debilitation of her sister, who lost her husband and her children in a horrible car accident and now resides in a facility, refusing to deal with the reality of her situation.
The outlook is bleak, yet Echo, Terry Moore’s evocative independent series, is ever dreary, nor overly pessimistic. Even though every chapter of this first volume opens with a quote from Einstein warning humankind of the dangers of the nuclear age, we never lose sight of the hope for good people to do good things for good reasons.
That is, of course, in direct contrast to the driving force of the plot, which begins with a female military operative testing out a special suit—think Iron Man’s armor made with lightweight, malleable, quantum-physics-inspired metal. Unfortunately for her, the military brass she serves is about to turn against her, in a test of the capabilities of the suit that involves blowing her up with an above-ground nuclear missile. Julie happens to be out in the desert taking pictures of the flora when the explosion happens, causing metal to rain down on her and mysteriously fuse to her body. Also in the area: a park ranger with ties to the doomed woman in the test suit.
As Moore proved in his revered classic series Strangers in Paradise, he is an eminently readable author, as well as an expressive illustrator. He proves so again here, giving this new series a sci-fi element that, while a little far-fetched, is relatable.
If Strangers in Paradise established Moore’s reputation as a dynamic talent in the indie world, Echo firmly solidifies it. This first volume just gets the action started and leaves us thoroughly intrigued with its two likable protagonists. After reading this, you’ll be ready for more.
Reviewed by John Hogan on September 9, 2008
Echo, Vol. 1: Moon Lake