After being genuinely impressed by the previous installment of Rasputin, I approached this issue with a certain level of optimism. After reading this issue, I walked away with said optimism damaged significantly as this is yet another issue of Rasputin which simply isn’t as engaging as it should be. While the novelty of seeing Rasputin in the present day made the last issue feel fresh and exciting, here the plodding pace of this series returns to the forefront. We are seven issues into Rasputin now, and yet I can’t help but feel like the story has barely moved on from where it began in issue one. The supporting cast of characters are still severely underdeveloped, to the point where after reading about them for nearly a year I still have no idea who they are. It could be argued that this has been done to shroud the characters in mystery, but it is my belief that this lack of development is due solely to lazy story-telling. I still feel that the story being told in this book has no real direction or forward momentum; instead with each issue we get shown a few scenes that all feel disconnected from one another before an abrupt (and often confusing) ending.
Indeed, a feeling of confusion hangs over this book like a dark cloud particularly in the flashback scenes where I now have no idea as to what is going on. In this issue, Rasputin is invited to dinner by some guy – I have no clue who he is in relation to Rasputin because remember, this book doesn’t do character development – and he knows he’s probably going to be poisoned. This perilous scenario however, simply has no impact as we have no connection to Rasputin as the character continues to be bland beyond belief, while as I’ve already mentioned there’s no reason to feel for the supporting cast as they haven’t had a shred of development since this book began. Additionally, there’s no indication as to why these people want to kill Rasputin; presumably it’s because they don’t like the fact that he has healing powers but the book doesn’t explain why. This general lack of thought robs this series of any interesting antagonists.
The artwork continues to be outstanding, but frankly it’s not enough to elevate this series to ‘worth reading’ status. Instead, the beauty of each issue is just another reminder that this art team would be put to far better use on a book that’s actually entertaining.
The more I think about this series, the more frustrated I get by just how lazy it is. There’s real potential here for a good story, but unfortunately issue after issue it is squandered. Despite the fact I’ve been reading this book for nearly a year now, each instalment can be boiled down to: a bunch of characters we know nothing about take part in a sequence of disconnected scenes that make little to no sense. This is the most disappointing issue of Rasputin yet.