Plot: A secret government project inadvertently falls into the hands of woman who already has enough problems to deal with.
Commentary: A project as large as Strangers in Paradise, which spanned 14 years and ninety issues, will cast a shadow over Terry Moore’s new series Echo for some time before the unfair comparison is lifted and Echo can speak for itself. In the meantime, Moore’s science fiction drama begins with a character familiar to fans of his work: The troubled woman.
Julie isn’t having the best of days. Besides having mounting debts, no food in her fridge or chow for her dog, she’s getting calls from her ex-husband to sign the divorce papers. Not the best day to be directly beneath a small, government-controlled, nuclear explosion that hurls bits of an indestructible super suit upon you. To be precise, this secret weapon doesn’t necessary fall into Julie hands, but sticks to her body!
The premise isn’t new, but the situation and the characters are fresh and lively. There is much to expect from Echo’s burgeoning cast of characters: The protagonist Julie, the test pilot Annie, and the smart-mouth park ranger Dillon. Each is connected to the explosion and will summarily effect what happens in its aftermath. Julie is groomed to be an addled super heroine with real and significant problems (i.e. no money, divorce, etc). Annie, whose tragic test flight resulted in the explosion, may become either a helpful sidekick or a spirit of vengeance.
Interestingly, Dillon will change the entire dynamic of the series depending on how his character develops. If he becomes Julie’s love interest, the romantic subtext can lead to tension or a liability on her part. If he is revealed to have connections to Annie as well, the relationship becomes a strange incorporeal triangle that could be rather fun to follow. In any case, there is a great deal for Moore to work with that will astound and surprise the reader.
Furthermore, Terry Moore’s artwork is terrific as always, but resides in the shadow of Strangers in Paradise. For instance, Julie bears resemblance to Katchoo and Dillon looks like a Caucasian David. Yet Moore is fully capable of defining these people and making them unique and lovable in their own right. It’s just not in issue one.
Overall, Echo is a good start to a science fiction venture that Moore had been hinting at within the tome of his romance classic. Now free to explore the wide world of the fantastic, look forward to seeing new and inventive ideas from a master writer and artist in his new series.
Final Word: It’s a cross between Nova and Strangers in Paradise. And really good!
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