100 Days, 100 Comics #69: ‘Rasl’ #6

The way Jeff Smith puts a book together makes the process feel so effortless from the reader’s seat. Rasl #6 stars off on an odd note. You almost get the sensation that you accidentally bought Smith’s condensed biography of Nikola Tesla with Rasl #6. Literally, the historical narrative he offers at first feels slightly disjointed from the main story, but thematically they sync up, and I can’t remember the last time I learned so much history trivia in the process of gaining perspective on a fictional character in a comic.

The flipside of devoting nearly half the book to Tesla leaves about as many pages available for advancing the Rasl plot, but if you want a quick primer on the world’s most famous mad scientist and his relationships with Thomas Edison and J.P Morgan, you’ll get a fulfilling deal out of this purchase.

What’s in here of the main plot is great, though. Considering the decompressed storytelling of a lot of Marvel and DC comics floating around right now, I’d say you probably still get more meat for $3.50 from Jeff Smith that you would from most of Rasl #6’s shelf neighbors. The illustration at work is as lively as ever, and the juxtaposition of Telsa with Rasl makes its point. In fact, issue #6 is probably the best single issue to pick up since #1 if you haven’t been following the series just because of how well it works as a standalone read leaning so heavily on the side narrative.

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