Stefani Sloma

Comic Review: Rasputin #1 is full of Murdered Main Characters and Bear Fights

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Rasputin #1, written by Alex Grecian and published by Image Comics, is a strange start to a series and reads more like a movie pitch than a comic.

Rasputin #1


WRITER: Alex Grecian
ARTIST: Riley Rossmo
COLORIST: Ivan Plascencia
LETTERER: Thomas Mauer
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE DATE: October 29, 2014

Pick up Rasputin #1 the latest title from Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo! (Hopefully, you already know them from their partnership on their excellent series Proof!

Grigori Rasputin sits down at a table, which is to be his last meal. Why? Well, he’ll be murdered here tonight. After telling us this, the story goes back to Siberia, when Rasputin was a child, to show us how he grew up – in horrible conditions with a crazy, abusive father in arctic temperatures. However, Grigori does have one shining light to all this awfulness: he has healing and resurrecting powers capable of bringing a full-size brown bear back to life after a fight between it and his father – whom he leaves dead in the snow, but who, in the present, haunts Grigori. In the present, Grigori drinks the wine that he knows is poisoned.

Sounds like an interesting start to a series, yes? I don’t really know if it was or not. I’m not sure where this series will go starting with its next issue. The reader is given little to no information about the present day Rasputin. Who is he? Why is he being murdered, by the people he calls his closest friends no less? I finished the issue not really knowing what I learned nor where the series will continue. I suppose I am somewhat intrigued to find out though.

As for the art – it’s pretty cool. Rossmo makes up for the faults in the story with his beautiful artwork. There’s a distinct difference between the art for the past and the art for the present. The present is dark, moody, and confined, almost claustrophobic while the past is very bright, clear, wide-open and less defined. The fight was the bear was just as awesome as you’d expect it to be, and Grigori’s healing powers feel extraordinary, especially when you notice the skeletal outlines within the swirling mass of power. Very cool. It does have a lot (and I mean a lot) of full page spreads, however, which reads more like a movie proposal’s story board than a comic.

In the essay at the end of the issue, writer Alex Grecian pretty much says that Rasputin is a movie pitch. It reads like one too, like a story board of characters and plot and the distinct feeling that it is not quite distinct. It needs focus and with that, this first issue could have been a lot better, in my opinion. Here’s hoping it gets that direction in its coming issues.

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