When I finished this issue, I said to myself, “is that it?” I was genuinely quite surprised at how abruptly this second installment ends, but then that surprise evolved into disappointment at how slowly this book is moving forward. In my review of the first issue of Rasputin I said that it was flawed but had potential, and I still feel that way about the book now. But I’m starting to wonder just how long this book will take to fix the flaws that are currently weighing it down. These flaws include an underdeveloped protagonist. The titular character Rasputin continues to be one that I struggle to get excited about. His magical healing powers are interesting, but they don’t make up for the fact that two issues in we still know almost nothing about him aside from one childhood event. It doesn’t help that once again this book has a very minimal amount of dialogue, and so most of our exposure to Rasputin’s character and personality is through his actions. But in this issue his actions really just raise more questions as a lot of this issue is just Rasputin engaging in a violent bar fight for reasons that aren’t very well explained.
I was grateful to see two supporting characters introduced in this issue, which took some pressure off Rasputin in that his almost non-existent character wasn’t expected to carry the entire book. But still even these new characters left a lot to be desired, with French soldier Antoine Dulac seemingly there to move the story forward more than anything else, and the second supporting character introduced so late in the issue that it wasn’t possible to get much of a grasp on what he might bring to this series. If writer Alex Grecian doesn’t establish his characters soon then this book is going to fall apart.
The second major flaw this book suffers from is a lack of direction. After two instalments I still have no idea where this book is going, and not in a fun and unpredictable way, in more of a “this is going to get boring if something doesn’t happen soon” kind of way. I think we’re long overdue a hint as to where this story is headed, because right now it seems to have no direction whatsoever and feels stuck in one place.
Still, at least it will always look pretty as the star of this book continues to be Riley Rossmo’s artwork which looks great throughout. I found the book’s double-page spreads to be particularly impressive, looking cinematic and immersive while being a fantastic way to give the audience an idea of the world these characters live in. Once again I must also praise colourist Ivan Plascencia for contributing towards this book’s great look. Together the pair give Rasputin a mysterious and brooding tone, and secure the art as this book’s strongest feature.
But no matter how great this book looks, it has to do something soon if it wants to hold people’s attention. If you were a huge fan of the first issue, then perhaps you’ll get more joy out of this second instalment than I did. However if you were on the fence about this series, I’d consider just saving your money and skipping Rasputin #2. Until we’re introduced to some truly exciting characters, and the plot starts to show some direction and stop stagnating in one place, I see little reason to follow this series. I still think this book has potential, but right now it’s being wasted.
Writer: Alex Grecian Artist: Riley Rossmo Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/26/14 Format: Print/Digital