If I told you one of the most Christmas themed comics this week would be a book called Rasputin me thinks you’d cry foul and say, “Go back to Russia, commie.”
Fine…but it is. So, is it good?
Rasputin #3 (Image Comics)
It has been established that Rasputin can heal people and animals but why he has this power and how it really works still remain to be seen. The first issue was bookended with Rasputin heading to dinner with his friends all the while knowing they wanted to kill him. He joined them anyway, and sipped from a poisoned cup. Intercut with these scenes are flashbacks to when Rasputin was a boy. This issue spends 99% of its time in flashback mode, but it’s all focused on the very magical and mystical.
Freaky little devils.
This issue is in danger of going off the rails so to speak as writer Alexander Grecian goes full on magical realm with the story. Rasputin wakes and goes off into the cold with only a blanket. Once there he runs into fairies, the embodiment of suicides at the river, and an ice “companion” to the great Ded Moroz aka “Old Man Frost” — known in some cultures as … Santa. Say what?! Talk about a well timed story for this series. A major element of Rasputin’s power is revealed which should get most of you giddy for the next issue. The cliffhanger is quite surprising too, especially considering the pace of this series seems more focused on flashbacks then the present story.
Unfortunately I found certain bits confusing. At one point a priest kills a sleeping man…but who is this man? He proceeds to read a story to a compatriot of said man, who doesn’t seem the least bit phased. This whole section makes some sense to Rasputin’s story, but the connective tissue isn’t strong enough to make much sense at this point. Thankfully the magical sequence takes up most of the issue and it’s not only a site to see, but also rivetting to follow along.
The art by Riley Rossmo continues to be extremely strong as he renders freakish fairies in customary pessimistic Russian fashion. Things don’t get too untethered as they do in his other work Drumheller but there is one page that might confuse: it’s a moment where Rasputin gains knowledge in a cloud of images. Outside of this montage of chaos his layouts are quite nice and solid. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a well paced fairy tale.
The color by Ivan Plascencia should not go unnoticed. I simply love what he’s doing to the panels told in flashback. They make the imagery dreamlike and allow the reader to follow along easily, but always know this is the past. The magical elements look all the more magical due to his great color work.
Is It Good?
The magical sequence takes up most of the issue and it’s not only a site to see, but also riveting to follow along.