I am so confused. What the hell is this book about? What began as a somewhat simple story of Russian monk Rasputin and his supernatural powers over death has become increasingly more bizarre month after month. This issue is kind of a one-shot story which follows a character I have no idea of the identity of – something which isn’t a purposeful move on the part of writer Alex Grecian, but just a consequence of this book’s strange storytelling – at two stages of his life: as he gains immortality from some kind of God, and as he finally dies after a brutal fight with the titular character of this book. I suppose that’s a spoiler but you really shouldn’t care. I’ve left most issues of Rasputin with a feeling of puzzlement, but with issue nine I have a particularly bad case of it. This series has never spoken of or even hinted towards any kind of gargantuan being who grants immortality to people, and so the sight of a skeleton ice God several hundred feet tall along with his ice princess daughter is utterly baffling. I repeat: none of this has ever been in this series before, nor is it properly introduced or explained in this issue. These things that are so far out of left field they’re practically on a different continent just start happening, and we the audience have no choice but to just go along with it.
Sometimes it’s fun to throw your audience in at the deep end, but you’ve got to give them something. Heck, just a likeable character could be enough. But this book has nothing. No characters, no explanation – just stuff that happens. It’s frustrating to be so drastically in the dark, and it’s equally frustrating to see the potential this series has consistently left undelivered. Perhaps most confusing of all is that the final panel of this issue says “to be concluded,” meaning presumably the next instalment is the last. How Grecian plans to bring together all the disparate plot threads he’s planted for a fulfilling finale is beyond me, and at this point I’d wager that this book is going to end on a disappointing whimper.
Indeed, issue ten needs to settle threads ranging from how Rasputin survived so long and became a close adviser to a presidential candidate, what’s to happen to said presidential candidate along with the reporter who discovered Rasputin’s true identity, and now he kind of needs to factor in these ice gods and what role they play in the broader story. Put simply: issue ten is doomed to fail.
Here’s my token “the art is good” line, which is consistently the only good thing I can say about this book. We’ve gone nine issues without establishing a single character or putting together a plot that isn’t almost entirely nonsensical, and the one remaining issue we have left likely isn’t going to change this. I’ll come back for the last issue out of morbid curiosity, but needless to say Rasputin is not a series you should invest any time or money in.
Rasputin #9 Writer: Alex Grecian Artist: Riley Rossmo Colorist: Ivan Plascencia Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 9/30/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital