After a brutally long and painful wait, Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo’s beloved Rasputin series returns to deliver a new story unlike any other. With America preparing to vote for a new president in less than a year, imagining how Rasputin would affect the elections is a brilliant concept. Does this concept prove to be a great story? Is it good?
Rasputin #6 (Image Comics)
Rasputin #6 feels like a homecoming. The first aspect of this book that you should catch your attention is a beautiful cover, as we have come to expect from Riley Rossmo. Riley’s art sets the tone of this book from the very first glance. Right from the cover we can see the strange and mythical powers at work in this book as well as the human struggles displayed by Rasputin’s look of desperation and bottle in hand.
As we start the story we are sucked right back into a gripping storyline all within the first page. The first page of Rasputin quickly sets up all of the conflict within the issue by showing the audience just one panel for each of the factors of the scene. From there the action unfolds off-screen, however, because the creative team did such a thorough job explaining the action from the first page we don’t have to watch the first scene but rather we can skip right to the aftermath.
The tension is building!
I know that’s all a bit vague, but I would really like to keep this issue fresh for all of those looking to read this issue. It truly is a fun scene and when Rasputin gets involved it gives us a little hint of what this character might look like and act like in the present day. Rasputin also seems to have a different air to him; he seems much more comfortable in himself. He seems less ponderous and self conscious but more confident and at points arrogant. This “new” Rasputin contrasts well with the character we’ve grown to know over the first arc.
After a few pages prompting the conflict taking place in the present day we continue following the story we left off in issue five. This much awaited resolution to a jaw-dropping cliff hanger is satisfying to be sure but also provides a lovely bit of exposition in which we explore a little more of Rasputin’s sensitivities. It seems that even though Rasputin can dramatically influence and change people he puts a great value on human lives and has particular sympathy for children. The fact that the reincarnation of a young child at the price of the child’s soul bothers Rasputin so deeply is an indication of some of the more human tendencies of Rasputin. Sure, he let his father bleed out in the snow, but he does have a heart and how he effects other people, also effects him.
Rasputin fans have been waiting to see him do that again since February. February!
Riley Rossmo does a fantastic job differentiating between the two time periods and locations. America seems crisp and modern while the Galician Border appears gloomy and run-down. Although these two sections of the book look to the untrained eye like such different atmospheres, the common thread of rough linework and creative shading and stipling make the work distinctly Riley’s. I do oftimes find myself getting caught up in Riley’s faces. They seems so real and sharp yet he finds a way to use each face to experiment with different types of shading. The result is brilliant and irresistible artwork.
I do have one complaint about this chapter of Rasputin. By the time that the issue ended, I felt like there wasn’t quite enough to justify the months of waiting and the four dollar buy-in. I’d have liked to see more in this issue, especially in terms of story progression in the America parts. I felt like the issue ended quite abruptly and with a cliff-hanger that hadn’t been totally built up to yet.
Is It Good?
This was the return every Rasputin fan was waiting for. It had some great story development, wonderful character moments with Rasputin and a pitch-perfect atmosphere. I simply wish there were more.