Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rasl #6

by Jeff Smith

I think there is the potential out there for a really interesting cultural studies master's thesis on depictions of Nikola Tesla in comic books. In the last few years, it seems he's been popping up all over the place, including, now, Jeff Smit's Rasl.

What sets this issue apart from other Tesla appearances (see Matt Fraction's Five Fists of Science - it's great) is that Smith is taking a very scholarly approach here, interspersing a history lesson on Tesla's career and inventions, with Rasl's story, as the title character returns to his life of art crime, at least until the lizard guy shows up again.

The delay between issues does make it difficult to remember exactly where this book last left off, but with this issue, it doesn't matter, as this is an excellent starting point for new readers. Whatever has gone on before doesn't really matter here, as the focus is on Tesla to a great degree.

In many ways, this might be my favourite issue of this title yet. I was contemplating making the switch to trade-waiting on this, but now I'm much more committed to the book. This is a very strong issue. Also, I get a kick out of seeing Smith draw such straight, realistic scenes. I enjoyed his work on Bone, but am impressed with his ability to draw the real world.

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