Review – Rasputin #5 (Image Comics)

Rasputin05_CoverPublisher: Image Comics
Writer: Alex Grecian
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Release Date: 25th February, 2015

As the first volume of Image Comics’ dynamic reinvention of the tale of Grigori Rasputin reaches its conclusion, it’s worth taking a moment to soak in the sheer storytelling brilliance which is on display right here. Writer Alex Grecian has continually managed to seamlessly intertwine the worlds of the past and the present, drawing parallels between the two and using the former to introduce characters who will go on to play significant roles in the latter; the end result being that a narrative which ran the risk of becoming muddled and disorienting is instead incredibly straightforward — something which certainly cannot be said for the titular character himself.

This issue relocates Rasputin to the grimy, blood-soaked horror of the war-torn Galician Border as he finds himself tasked with duty of saving the Tsar — and drawn into a moral dilemma about dealing with the larger-scale suffering. The development of Rasputin’s character over the course of the previous four issues simply cannot be understated, and we are presented here with weary, grizzled man who loses more and more of himself every time he is forced to use his ‘gift’ for healing.

Once again, Riley Rossmo’s artwork is all about subtle nuance and ‘feel’ here rather than technical detail, and the minute adjustments in the lead character’s facial expressions through this issue give Rasputin’s journey an added layer of intrigue, and speak to his mood and emotion just as much as Grecian’s dialogue — if not more so. Rossmo’s typically scratchy, ‘dirty’ style is perfectly utilised here in the telling of the story, and his gift for the unusual and surreal (as seen in his other creator-owned work, Drumhellar) give the supernatural aspects of this story an added visual punch.

However, it has to be pointed out that this book is undoubtedly collaborative effort, with Ivan Plascencia’s brilliantly expressive colours providing extra emphasis to the storyline beats, as well as giving an added visceral quality to the book’s frequent violent moments. Also worth mentioning is the slick lettering of Thomas Mauer that ties everything together, particularly during the present day scenes with the excerpts from Rasputin’s journal.

With the first volume of this story ending in shocking, heart-stopping fashion, it’s undoubtedly going to be a long, painful wait until June 24th for the second volume in the series to begin. However, I’m going to make it my personal mission during that time to ensure that anyone who may have missed out on this inspired series until is given every opportunity to rectify that mistake. Gripping storytelling wrapped up in an utterly sublime visual package, Rasputin is a series that simply must be read.

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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2 Comments on Review – Rasputin #5 (Image Comics)

  1. One of my favourite new Image series at the moment!

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