by the Tan Man
I was amazingly intrigued by the story of Rasl. It presented different dimensions, which was pretty awesome. The cat and-mouse-storyline involving Rasl and his predator, Sal, was filled with suspense as well. Other than that, his confrontations with the creepy little child, who is possibly the God of the Rasl universe, were definitely interesting, as well as his journey with and against his love interest, Maya.
Unfortunately, I do not think it lived up to its potential. I expected RASL to be something like Bone, an epic story with a compelling world around it. It had the potential to fully explore and expand upon the different dimension Rasl traveled in, but it did not. Instead, the book focused more on Rasl, the character, rather than the world of Rasl. Even though the book involved various dimensions, it didn’t feel vast or epic at all. Also, the panels that involved Tesla were dragging at most times, and it just kills the mood entirely — well, unless you’re a fan of Tesla himself, then so be it. It may be a bit unfair to compare anything to Jeff Smith’s masterpiece, but that’s what happens when you make something extremely good; people expect the same kind of good through and through. So all in all, it had the potential to be this massive, absorbing world, filled with dimensions of different kinds and forms, but instead it stayed linear to the plot, and it didn’t venture out much away from it. The book is good, but it could’ve been so much better.
RASL was definitely different from Jeff’s other books. Rasl has a much darker setting than Bone ever had, and its story follows suit. It isn’t the usual happy-go-lucky, fun Jeff Smith book. It delves into real life events, and as a result, it makes the story more real than the other books he has written. It leaves you with an odd sense of eeriness at some points, and creepy at others. There is a similarity in the creepiness to all of it, in Rasl having the lizard-faced man and the atrocious experiments, and in Bone having the Lord of the Locusts, as well as with the dark dreams the characters have.
The book was originally published in black and white and has a colored edition that collects the whole series. The addition of color doesn’t add to the experience significantly, but it does add to the immersion.
I would rate this book a 7 and would recommend the book to teenagers who are more or less sci-fi lovers. It wouldn’t hurt if you were a fan of Tesla, too.