Published on July 29th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Rasputin #7 Review
Grigori Rasputin is made to relive another chapter of his life when a pushy news reporter from The Orbit starts asking him about Abraham Zapruder. As per usual the comic is split between ‘modern day’ and a flashback to Rasputin’s past.
In the flashback sequence of the story, Rasputin’s character is revealed in a number of different ways. Firstly he is humbled when he is recognised by the people and a young girl gives him a piece of cake despite the fact her family barely has food to feed themselves. Rasputin accepts the gift graciously and in return gives her an entire basket of eggs. This simple exchange illustrates Rasputin’s understanding of people and society; he respects what is offered to him and in return proves his generosity to the watching crowd.
Secondly, when there is an attempt on Rasputin’s life, the ‘mad monk’ allows the assassin to die knowing this will cause the old man’s ghost to haunt him. Rasputin is faced with difficult decisions and his actions, or inactions, say a lot about his character. But the assassination attempt also confuses Rasputin because he wonders why someone would attempt to kill a man they knew couldn’t be killed.
And thirdly, Rasputin lies to protect his friends; he goes towards his death after convincing those around him that nothing can happen to him because he refuses to risk their lives.
All in all, Rasputin comes out of it very well indeed.
And then there’s the twist ending. Warning there be major spoilers ahead.
This issue of Rasputin does what it does very well. If you’ve been reading the series then this is another solid chapter; well written and beautifully drawn. However it’s not a good jumping on point and even though it feels like a standalone story it is anything but. The flashback builds up the good character of Rasputin, something which has been done in previous issues already, but nothing much else. It reinforces idea’s that have already been explained and draws attention to the threats that follow the lead where ever he goes but for the most part it is a little redundant, almost as if the entire issue is simply coasting until the final scene.
And let’s not beat around the bush, the final page with the two photographs is what this issue, and the current story arc, are all about. Rasputin healing John F Kennedy in Dallas 1963 rockets this comic into the realms of alternate history and moves it away from the ‘based on true-ish events’ label it’s been working under. This is a massive turn of events and kind of explains the flashback element of this story because not only is the reader not prepared for this but it suddenly feels like the flashback is a conclusion to that part of Rasputin’s life. That story is done with and now there is something so much bigger to concentrate on. From this point on I wouldn’t be surprised if the flashback sequences explore this alternate world and how history is different because of Rasputin’s actions.
This comic is a difficult one for me. On the one hand I love the style of this; the writing is fluid and Grecian writes some dramatic banter between his characters and of course Rossmo’s artwork is sublime with a magical realist feel that for the most part is pleasure to look at. However, I am not sure I am convinced yet by the path the story is taking. I enjoyed the historical aspects from the first arc but haven’t warmed to the modern day developments. This arc is still fairly fresh so it may have grown on me by the end but for the moment I am finding this a touch tepid.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Alex Grecian
Artist: Riley Rossmo