Review: Rasputin – The Voice of the Dragon #1 (of 5)

With all the trials and tribulations that the B.P.R.D and Hellboy have gone through recently, it seems that Mike Mignola and his collaborators have taken a step backwards in order to give their fans a kind  of new old story.

Rasputin – The Voice of the Dragon sees a conspiracy involving the Third Reich and a dead member of a sinister secret society that sets Professor Bruttenholm on his first mission—to find the man who’d soon bring Hellboy to earth.  As much as this could be seen as a prequel for existing fans, there is enough old school, almost British Boys Own Adventure throughout the book to garner interest from  new fans.  The story hints at more than it delivers; this is the first issue after all; as it seeks to set the context of the story along with building on the already existing Professor.

Writers Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson have been doing this long enough to know what they are looking for.  However, the book does seem wordier than their previous efforts giving the book a level of gravitas which is needed, bearing in mind that it’s set during the War.  The pair have worked hard to give the book a level of authenticity, which you would come to expect from such professionals.  The set up alone doesn’t a comic book make.  We get to see the development of the recognisable and with Rasputin’s own history with Hellboy there is the potential for the bad guy actually winning, if their goal is to summon a demon from hell itself.

Christopher Mitten provides the art for the book with a style that suits the era of the book well.  There is a mix of clean lines for the characters, with a less is more approach.  But when it comes to the backgrounds, they are full of detailed lines that help create a real world for the character to possibly lose when all hell, or at least a part of it, effectively breaks out.  But I am getting ahead of myself a tad.  I would imagine one of the benefits of having Mike Mignola on board is that he will have a specific look for a book in mind.  It is therefore a testament to all involved that they are able to deliver a book that screams wartime nuances.  Of course, it also helps to have a colourist of Dave Stewarts calibre sitting in your corner, quietly doing what he does, which is providing the colors that bind the disparate parts of the Mignola-verse together.

The idea of going back to tell new stories always feels me with a smidgen of worry.  After all, it wasn’t that long ago Zero Year tried to supplement Year One ad lets not even mention The Phantom Menace.  But going back in time seems to have become the modus operandi for the connected books in the Mignola-verse and who can really complain with quality of those involved.

For fans of the book, and the Mignola-verse as a whole, please click the  link for an interview with writer Chris Roberson:

Writing – 4.5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars

Written by: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Art by; Christopher Mitten
Colors by; Dave Stewart
Published by; Dark Horse Comics

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