Saturday, 30 January 2016

Rasputin, Volume 2: The Road to the White House Review (Alex Grecian, Riley Rossmo)

Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo’s alternate take on the life of Rasputin comes to an end in this second and final book, The Road to the White House. It picks up towards the end of WW1, just before the revolution, and, if you’re already familiar with Rasputin’s real history, you’ll know he was shortly murdered thereafter. But in this version, weirder things happen and events conspire to send him across the pond to the capitalist utopia that is America.

The first volume was just ok, this second one is kinda crap. Ironically the tacked on stuff Grecian/Rossmo made up is less interesting than the actual events of Rasputin’s last days, proving that truth isn’t just stranger than fiction, in this instance it’s more compelling too. 

He becomes a political advisor in America and that’s his happy ever after - meh. Was he really a brilliant political strategist? We don’t really see it in his time in Russia. But the part where he’s "killed" in 1916? That was great. 

Fine, the creators didn’t want to do a straightforward retelling of Rasputin’s life but the magic necromancer powers, ghosts, and ice giant gods (and I know what I’m describing sounds great but it’s quite bland I assure you) felt like standard fantasy fare. Rossmo’s art though is quite good and I liked his design of the ice giant god. 

I’d recommend Philip Gelatt/Tyler Crook’s Petrograd over Grecian/Rossmo’s more fanciful Rasputin books but it’s actually not that much better. The odd thing is that comics writers tackling Rasputin tend to produce stories that are far more underwhelming than the simple effect an ordinary history book (or Wikipedia entry) can elicit in the reader on the subject - and I’d recommend reading those instead of these sub-par comics!

Rasputin, Volume 2: The Road to the White House

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