Published on November 5th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Rasputin #10 Review
Issue 10 is the final issue in Alex Grecian’s true-ish tale of Rasputin and it definitely fells like an end, although maybe a slightly rushed one.
Rasputin relates the final part of his story and how he escaped from the October Revolution with the Tsar’s children, Alexei and Anastasia. They found refuge with an old friend (of sorts) and eventually made their way to America.
At which point the modern day journalist, a bland plot device to provide a reason for Rasputin to tell his life story, asks “Wait, so that’s it?”, a sentiment that you may share when you reach the end of this issue. On the one hand there is a lovely symmetry to the narrative which mainly involves Rasputin’s memoir, the opening of which relates back to the first issue. However there is so much outstanding that’s not even addressed that it feels as though an entire chapter has been missed out. Alex Grecian has told a clever, and in places, beautiful story about the magic surrounding Rasputin but he introduced so much that when you reach the end, a lot of it was unnecessary and did nothing more than muddy the narrative in previous issues; there’s a whole politics thread which has barely been touched for example.
As this issue stands, by itself, the flashback sequences are sublime. Grecian captures the horror and chaos caused by the violent uprising in Russia and focuses it on a personal level so that as a reader you can identify with it; these massive historical events are sometimes too big to get engaged with but here, Grecian and Rossmo pull you right in. And of course Rossmo’s art is outstanding as he mixes massive, highly detailed splash pages with intimate, multi panelled pages that focus on the seemingly mundane aspects of the situation; the close up of a barking dog for example. The violence of the situation is also illustrated effectively by the constant use of silent panels and directional marks in the air; here Rossmo is saying that even simple acts like the swinging of an axe can literally affect the environment around them. It’s a harrowing sequence that allows the reader to witness Rasputin in an impossible situation; there is nothing he can do except save the children and this action plays heavy upon him.
Where this issue is a let down is back in the modern day. The contrast in artwork between past and present is cleverly handled with a change in the colour palate so that the modern day world is brighter; realer in a sense. But the wrapping up of the story in this clear, bright world is lacking any depth and becomes as commonplace as the setting. There is an element of Interview with the Vampire to this final issue with a reporter eking an elaborate story out of a self-confessed immortal, and it ends in the same way with the reporter essentially learning nothing of any value. All she has been told is unbelievable and it all relates to events so long ago there is no way to check the facts. This would have been okay if many of the modern day elements hadn’t been introduced in the last few issues but ultimately these story arcs have left gaps and hanging threads all over the place.
This issue has a disappointing framing story for an outstanding centre piece and leaves the series on an anti-climax. This is a shame because for the most part Rasputin has been a joy to read and the beautiful art work could never become tiresome.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Alex Grecian
Artist: Riley Rossmo