By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Dark Horse Comics’ Rasputin, The Voice of the Dragon is a fantastic read. If I had to make comparisons, this work takes cues from Young Sherlock Holmes. I spoke with Chris Roberson during Emerald City Comic-Con 2018 and he said this mad monk is not even at full power. More stories are planned.
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and co-writer Roberson are a great team to extend this universe in new ways I highly approve of. They brought everything I adore about Ancient Egypt as a mystery religion in a post-Victorian age to life. The art by Christopher Mitten is consistency fantastic and the color tones by Dave Stewart gives this work a look of early cinema.
This latest issue takes on a vibe from Raiders of the Lost Ark and I love it! Trevor Bruttenholm is literally putting his head in the mouth of the lion. After figuring out who Albert Mayhew is and ascertaining his afterlife, his ghost leads him to France. The following spoilers recap the story so far:
Mayhew was once the Grand Master of the Heliopic order of Ra. In the past, when he partnered with Edward Grey, their goals were not mutual. Grey is a good guy and Mayhew is misguided. Part of their tale becomes important to what Grigori Rasputin is after. Issue one reveals much his purpose. He wishes to be the future. When he nearly died, he merely got a fleeting glimpse of a “terrible destiny” to come and wishes to not be a victim but rather the conqueror.
This order has keys to a doorway this mystic wishes to unlock. His corpse was dug up and it finds Bruttenholm seeking help like he was afraid. By issue two, a seance is required to figure out who wanted his body unearthed. No concrete answers are offered and Trevor visits Mayhew’s abandoned mansion to seek answers. Sadly, a monstrous guardian puts a halt to this investigation. With one avenue closed, another one opens up when government agent Michaels finally finds Bruttenholm and sends him on a mission. In Nazi-occupied Paris, he teams up with Sandhu and discovers crazy experiments to bring the dead back to life. Much of this is led by the mad scientist, Karl Ruprecht Kroenen.
Eugene Remy becomes another important figure in this world. This individual founded the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. He predates Mayhew and if these two share some history, that is being saved for another story.
Though, for this fledgling investigator, he will discover more things lurking in heaven and earth, than ever dreamt off in any philosophy. Shakespeare may well shudder. This latest issue shows how all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. Rasputin seeks to be that one man and this tale sets his rise to glory. Much of the story takes place in 1941, and roughly a week as passed in this timeline.
In Issue #3, Rasputin has Nazi soldiers digging in the catacombs in search of Remy’s tomb. He did mention very briefly that he is in control of Mayhew. Just when that happened leaves a few questions unanswered. Bruttenholm is still very inexperienced, and when considering how young he looks, some future adventure will put a lot of gray hairs in him. In what this tale show is his trial by fire. He becomes part of the Special Operations Executive and his initiation shows he’s finally ready to take on the greater mysteries to make him the sensei Hellboy needs to handle this world. Ultimately, this story is one that will require subsequent rereadings to understand what’s to come. Horatio better look out!