By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Dark Horse Comic‘s Rasputin, The Voice of the Dragon has an official street date of November 15th, and any fan of this character from the Hellboy series will finally be able to get inside this evil sorcerer’s head! The first issue serves as an introduction and later issues will look deeper into this antagonist’s backstory. With this title, another tale is unfolding.
Hellboy has not arrived on Earth yet, and Trevor Bruttenholm’s journey to be confident to this antihero is also just beginning. His “abiding interest in the occult” sees him chasing after ghosts, or rather geists, thinking there is a code nestled within it to reveal the Nazi’s plan for world conquest. Little do the Allies know, the Germans are seeking their own warlords. Eventually, both side’s masters of the occult will clash.
Not all the cards are laid out with this issue. The title hints at the Mad Monk serving the Order of the Dragon. But just who it is or they remain a mystery. It whispers to him and offers glimpses of what’s to come — an apocalypse — but is this Lucifer or some other cosmic entity? Those familiar with the Bible may well think the War in Heaven will eventually take place.
This five-part series has plenty to like. Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson penned this tale which offers intrigue and mystery at every flip of the page. The second issue synopsis suggests a seance might reveal who Trevor has to eventually face, and the third has the Allies sending him behind enemy lines to set up his encounter with Rasputin!
The art by Christopher Mitton and colour tones by Mike Huddleston make the period story come alive. There’s anger and might in the last panel revealing Rasputin. He’s been brooding in Italy ever since he fled his mother country, following the historical events. The agent sent to find the sorcerer is nervous, if not anxious because he’s the person who has to negotiate with the mad wizard. To see that in the art makes this comic more of a cinematic product.
Although this series is unlikely to end with Hellboy’s entry — the setting suggests the tale takes place a few years away from that fateful day — I am glad there are more stories that can be told that does not require Hellboy to be around. This series hints at plenty of old world spiritualism and archaeology to keep me interested. Although the last issue will not be out until after Emerald City Comic Con, I hope to get the opportunity to meet either writer to talk to them in-depth about this particular work (when the other issues are finally released) and also inquire to what they have planned as other stories in this universe.
With this Rasputin comic, the seeds are planted to let this world grow in new ways. If the Hellboy development team can start going back in time to offer Victorian age adventures offering more reveals about the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra instead of having it revealed throughout different comics to keep tabs on, then I’m all over it!