This week let’s visit Image Comics once again with their new book Rasputin, written by Alex Grecian and drawn by Riley Rossmo. This is the first issue of an ongoing series from Image and I have to say, I am in for the long haul on this one. Without getting into the subject of which companies are really letting me down recently, let me just say that Image has really been doing it right lately.
This book introduces us to Gregori Yefimovich Rasputin, the historical “mad monk” of the court of Czar Nicolas III. It opens at a somewhat unexpected point in time—the day he is poisoned. Rasputin is served a glass of wine, and he knows it has been tampered with. At this point we are greeted with a two page spread that shows Rasputin sitting at a dining room table with four unnamed men, the men who are poisoning him, and a ghostly figure who stands behind him. Our mad monk starts remembering his childhood with his parents, his father being the large ghost that we saw on the previous panel. In this reverie we see his troubled home life, his developing supernatural powers, and a decision he makes that clearly comes back to haunt him.
The dialogue is sparse, precise, and brilliantly written. The scarcity of the dialogue is odd at first but ultimately turns out to be a fairly powerful literary tool that is used to great effect. In this particular case it serves to underline the intense emotion Rasputin feels as a teen. The art backing up this issue is pretty awesome too. There is this, I hesitate to say dirty, but strange, smudgy, almost unfinished quality to the drawing in this book that really fits the time period these characters live. You can tell by their dress and the overall feel of the art that this is a pre-World-War-I story. Even the color in this book, done by Ivan Plascencia, is done exceedingly well. The shift between the “present” and the memory is evident while not feeling out of place. This whole book was executed well and Image has, once again, put out a title that I feel is destined to become a long-running favorite of mine.
Rasputin was a random book that I added a few weeks ago after seeing ads for it all over my other Image books, not knowing it was by the same team that did Proof, another Image favorite of mine (about Sasquatch acting as a government monster hunter). I loved Proof, and I loved this book too. It was a 5/5 and you should totally buy it!