Image © Terry Moore.
I’ve had this 600-page book on my reading shelf for a long time. It comprises all 30 individual issues of Terry Moore’s self-published comic and extras. I’d read a few issues of Terry’s earlier series, STRANGERS IN PARADISE, and liked them, but not enough to keep buying it. I’d heard much praise for this book, and when I finally started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I loved it! For one thing, it’s true science fiction, a rare thing in comics. Jeff Smith’s R.A.S.L. is the only other recent series that I feel qualifies, and there’ve been precious few over the years. No costumes, no super-heroes, plenty of action, thrills, mystery and some pretty good science. Good enough to allow for the suspension of disbelief that makes a story work.
Annie Trotter is a brilliant nuclear scientist at a private nuclear development company where she’s helped develop a sort of semi-liquid bomb. Annie has found a way to make it into a shiny metal suit that covers her body, and is using it in the test of a jet-pack flight device over the desert when, for reasons that don’t become clear until much later, she is shot down by a missile, which explodes her and the suit into hundreds of tiny pieces. On the ground below is Julie, a photographer. The hail-like pieces of suit rain down on her and her truck, and are soon coalescing on her body, and won’t come off. It’s only a small part of the original suit, but it seems to have a mind of its own. When anything threatens Julie, the suit lashes out with powerful bursts of energy to protect her. Julie hooks up with Annie Trotter’s boyfriend, Dillon,and they begin trying to figure things out. It soon becomes clear that some part of Annie is still in the suit, and Julie can occasionally interact with her. Meanwhile, the army and the nuclear company have called in a special agent, Ivy, to track down the missing parts of the suit, and she’s soon on Julie’s trail. Then there’s the crazy guy who also has part of the suit on his hand, and is using it to kill people. He’s after Julie, too. There’s lots more, all fascinating, as the true nature of the suit and the project, it’s heartless leaders, and those who want to stop them all come together in a tornado of events around Julie and Dillon.
It’s a complex and wonderful story with terrific characters and lots of surprises, but ones that all flow logically from the original idea. Masterful work that I can’t praise enough. If you like great comics, this is for you. Well done, Mr. Moore!