Echo: The Complete Edition
written by Terry Moore
Terry Moore began Echo as an independent comic series in 2008, and over the course of 30 issues and three years, he created what is one of the best sci-fi comics of all time, a truly human, utterly fascinating, action-packed adventure. It’s a brilliant look at scientific exploration combined with human ambition (and all the foibles that contains).
It begins with a young scientist named Annie field-testing a highly classified new flying battle suit she has helped create. It would be a powerful weapon for the United States, and a highly profitable piece of machinery as well, but unfortunately, Annie is betrayed by the people she trusted, and both she and the suit are destroyed. In the expansive park below the sky the suit is being tested in are two unsuspecting strangers—one a homeless man and the other a young woman going through several emotional upheavals. Julie is broke, going through a tumultuous divorce, and trying desperately to help her sister (who has had a mental break with reality after witnessing her husband and children being killed). All of this has taken its toll on Julie, who is merely trying to escape to the desert to take some photographs when remnants from the battle suit begin to rain down on her—and inexplicably attach and adhere themselves to her skin.
From there begins a sprawling epic, one that traverses conspiracies, government cover-ups, a frantic hunt for Julie by military and federal agents and trained assassins, and much, much more. Just as Moore did in the stellar Strangers in Paradise, Moore effortlessly details the wide-ranging field of human emotions while propelling his tale forward at breakneck speed (easily one of the greatest strengths of Echo is the fast pace with which exciting plot twists and new information come flying at the reader).
Obviously, Julie is being hunted by the evil scientists for the highly valuable suit she now possesses, but the homeless man has been transformed into something inexplicable as well, and he wants to kill Julie, too. The only person Julie can turn to for aid is Annie’s boyfriend, who wants some answers himself.
These kinds of “protagonists on the run because they stumbled into a gigantic cover-up that they had no idea about” stories can have a huge weakness (notably, that they can be extremely derivative and unoriginal). That’s when they are left in the wrong hands, however. Terry Moore is not the wrong hands. His incredibly insightful writing is edgy, crisp, and practically crackles on the page (he especially excels at capturing the humanity of his characters, and he never forgets, no matter how “out there” his story gets, that these are real people he is characterizing here). Moreover, his art is fascinatingly detailed. Its beautiful black-and-white images lure readers in and compel us to linger on each page, despite the urge to turn pages as fast as possible to see what will happen next.
I’ve barely scraped the surface of Echo’s plot here. To describe how far it goes, and how fascinating the science gets, would take hundreds, perhaps thousands, more words. And why waste time? Let’s cut to the chase: Get this book. You’ll love it.