Rasputin is bizarre. I suppose it’s fitting that one of the strangest men in modern history has a self-titled comic-book to his name that is equally strange. I just wish I could say that this series was strange in a good way, but instead I can only again say that the creative decisions on this book are so odd that they end up weakening it and presenting a book that is sub-par at best. What strange creative decisions in particular, you may ask? Well for starters the story this book is telling has been told in a way that is confusing to say the least. The story is told in relatively self-contained chapters, with sections at the beginning and end that are overarching. I suppose this is all heading to some kind of exciting culmination further down the line, but at this point the direction that this series is going in is so unclear that it’s really hard to say. Ultimately the decision to tell this story in a way that put nicely is ‘untraditional’ has just left it feeling overly slow and dull, which is a shame because there is potential in the ideas that writer Alex Grecian has put forward.
Additionally I still have problems with the characters in this book which are just as bland as the story itself. If you asked me to list some of the personality traits of our protagonist Rasputin, I’m afraid I simply couldn’t do it – and I really should be able to considering I’ve been reading the man’s adventures in Russia for the last five months! Meanwhile the book’s supporting cast is essentially non-existent, and the anchor at the centre of the book – Rasputin’s mystical healing powers – just isn’t interesting enough to keep me excited about reading this series.
The lack of an interesting story or any good characters to latch onto is a pretty damning sentence for this book, but still I find myself wondering if I should give it just one more issue. After all, while most of this issue was very forgettable, the ending was quite interesting and has left me intrigued to see where the book goes next – particularly after seeing an advert for The Rise of Rasputin at the back of this issue, which seems to show our WWI-era character in the present day looking not a day older than he does in this installment of the book.
Additionally Riley Rossmo continues to blow me away with his artwork. In my review of the last issue I said that I hoped to see him on a better title in the near future, and to my delight that may just be exactly what happens. Rossmo has been given art duties on DC’s upcoming Hellblazer relaunch, a title which will hopefully have some better writing to go along with Rossmo’s outstanding visuals.
I am once again puzzled by the positive reception that this series has received from other outlets. I just do not understand what other critics have found in this series that I have apparently consistently missed. I stand by the opinion that I’ve held for a good few months now that the book has no place on your pull list. It has an uninteresting and slow-moving plot, and a cast of bland characters that always seem to have nothing to bring to the table. While I throw the book a bone due to the fantastic artwork and because there’s still a small part of me that wants to see where exactly it’s headed, I still say that if you’re trying to keep your costs down Rasputin is a book that can be skipped without losing any sleep.
Rasputin #5 Writer: Alex Grecian Artist: Riley Rossmo Colorist: Ivan Plascencia Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 02/25/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital