When you jump from one universe to another using Tesla technology, there’s a good chance you are going to make a few enemies, reacquaint yourself with friends thought gone, and maybe, just maybe, meet someone more powerful than you.

RASL #8
Writer and Artist: Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books

Previously in RASL: Thanks to a super secret government project, and the discovery of Tesla’s lost journals, Rob has found a way to jump from one dimension to another. Instead of using his discovery for good, Rob robs from the rich to sell to the richer. It sounds like a waste of one’s potential, but when readers discover his destructive nature is due in part to loosing the woman he loves, it starts to make sense. Then there is there are those who want the technology for their own evil uses.

BIG BADDA BOOM!

In the previous issue, readers learned what lead to the fall out between Rob and Miles, the two leads at the Tesla compound. What we didn’t learn, before the compound blew up, is how deep Rob and Miles’ wife Maya were involved with one another. This issue answers that, and we see Rob attempting to break it off with his lover. It’s a simple breakup moment that we’ve seen a hundred times, but the lead in to that moment gives readers a reason to doubt Maya’s true motivation. Is she just with Rob to get at the Tesla journals, or does she really love him?

Rob, and readers, believe that he will never see Maya again, as the explosion at the compound appeared to have killed Maya – news reports said she was the only one the rescue team couldn’t find. With this revelation by Smith, one can see why Rob would bury himself in alcohol and thievery in an attempt to forget what happened. But then there is that creepy girl that’s been following Rob around.

While we’re only eight issues in, Smith has given us moments of wonder, and moments that make us question what is really going on. Each time, he’s given us a logical answer that works in this realm of Tesla technology, and that has been really appealing to me. However, I don’t think anyone reading this issue is prepared for the final panel reveal of the identity of the child. It’s a huge surprise, and if readers interpret the drawing the girl shows Rob, it may indicate Maya is still alive – and she would know, what with her being god and all…

THE ART STYLES OF JEFF SMITH

Doing a project completely on your own has to be a tough undertaking, and taking the time to write and draw every panel is sure to generate a lot of stress. I like Smith’s art, and in this issue, the pacing and composition of each page creates a feeling of a slow burn that builds and builds, until the big explosion at issue’s end. But even though I like the big cinematic feel of this issue, sometimes Smith’s character drawing gets a little wonky. Other than that, this is another fine example of how black and white art can work in comics.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT

RASL has been one of my must read books since it debuted a couple of years ago. While waiting between releases is grueling, when the new issue arrives, it makes the wait worthwhile. RASL is one of those stories that tends to present more questions than it answers, but with each installment, readers get a better idea of what is going on. From the story stand point, RASL has to be one of the best Sci-Fi-Drama-Romance-Time-Travel books out there, and the ending of this issue alone is worth 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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