Image Comics 2014
Written by Alex Grecian
Illustrated by Riley Rossmo
Coloured by Ivan Plascencia
You have got to be effin kidding me here! As the story of Rasputin’s death and resurrection continue to be told to the journalist, completely off page by the way, the boys have gone and turned this completely inside out on us. Prince Koschei Makarov isn’t who we thought he was at least not entirely. Sure he’s a friend of Rasputin’s and is one of the men responsible for his last dinner party but as we learn this issue his story has so much more impact than we could have ever dreamt possible.
Visiting the realm of Princess Snegurochka and her father once Makarov has his own designs. Namely marrying the princess only he’s not as prepared for her father’s answer and he might think. Through this sequence we see the choices that he makes and how they changed like the direction of the wind when a different offer is made. This is a beautifully rendered segment from Riley and Ivan. It’s cold, stunningly beautiful and slightly terrifying and Makarov is just handsome, strong and determined without that surreal quality to the colouring.
Seeing the final confrontation between Makarov and Rasputin was spectacular. Kind of like seeing modern dance mixed with ballet. We also see just how well these fellows regard one another and that trusting any one of them is detrimental to your health. After all in that era power really was everything and the power to heal or immortality would give one everything they could possibly hope for. A long reign and all the money, fame and power one could ever hope to assemble.
We’ve waited so long to see how this dinner party ended and we finally get that this issue but in all honesty the action far outshone the anticipation. It’s a classic case of the build was so worth the wait. While we don’t see any of what’s happening in the here and now it’s not needed what we do get is a nice piece at the end detailing the Presidential Candidate Assassination Attempts where we get more of a history lesson within the series.
This has been innovative, fresh and completely on point in taking a character from history and altering his history in such a way to really explore the myths behind him. We’ve been treated to reality mixed with fantasy to create a new mythology to more readily explain why the “mad monk” could have been said to possess his powers of healing and why he was fiercely guarded by the royal family and generally hated by outsiders.
Reading this there’s no question about the talent Alex and Riley possess to make such a story possible. Hell even thrilling and wildly entertaining. I know this is a finite series and once the story is told it’s told so I just have to hope they work on something else that you wouldn’t expect to be a series and make it just as wonderfully odd and unique as this is. Let’s not forget Ivan’s colouring because he’s been able to take the interiors and use such bold vibrant colours as well as softer muted ones to really stress the tone and mood need on any given page. This is once in a lifetime type of story that based in reality diverges into something else but you still hope it’s more truthful than not.