By Alex Grecian, Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia
‘Based on true-ish events’ couldn’t be more fitting for Rasputin. What Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo are doing to the myth and legend of Grigori Rasputin is nothing short of brilliant. Taking what little is known about a man who lived a long time ago and intertwining it with crazy, fantasy elements couldn’t work any better if this was a story about how peanut butter met jam. Using old Russian lore to connect the dots makes it even more intense and interesting while strengthening the idea that, yes, Rasputin was some sort of mystic with special powers who used what he had to influence, arguably, an entire nation.
Issue three might be the most word-heavy issue yet for Rasputin while finally revealing more about who, or what, Rasputin is and why he has the powers he has and it even starts to go into some of the consequences of using the powers he already has. This, of course, has been something very intriguing since the first issue after seeing just what kind of direction Grecian chose to take a story about someone like Rasputin. Referencing a time when Baba Yaga (who, yes, I first learned about in Hellboy, thanks Mike!) and using someone like Ded Moroz, essentially like a Russian Santa Claus, adds fantastic layers that Grecian will hopefully explore more of as Rasputin learns more about what he can do and who he is as the story progresses.
For a third straight time artist Riley Rossmo and colorist Ivan Plascencia have topped themselves between the covers of this book. The first two issues had some of the best art, arguably, of the year so looking through what these two have accomplished in issue three is almost staggering. As always, Rossmo’s character work is brilliant and having Ivan Plascencia color his work, a job he usually handles himself, has really allowed Rossmo to stretch his wings, so to speak, and take the time he requires on every little detail within every panel. He really is at the top of his game and doing the best work of his career. Ivan Plascencia is not only allowing Rossmo to produce on this level art wise, he’s also adding fantastic layers and style to the book that put it over the top. All of the mystical/fantasy elements in this issue just pop off the page with Plascencia’s liberal use of purples, blues and greens. It’s really something to behold (you might have heard that before) and something that really does raise the bar for all other comics on the shelves.
In a comic world that has so many great titles, especially from Image, Rasputin stands tall and for the third straight time delivers a five-star comic. Rasputin is a comic that anybody can pick up and get into and it’s a comic that can stand up to anything else of the shelf, month after month. If this isn’t a book that’s on a lot of “Best of 2014” lists, it’s going to take 2015 by storm when people realize what they’re missing. Be ahead of the curve and pick this up, you won’t regret it.