Rasl Book Two TPB: Romance at the Speed of Light – Jeff Smith

4 out of 5

Smith allows the plot of Rasl – already strange, with mutated, dimension-hopping government agents and spooky ghost girls – to wander in the weeds a bit in the story’s mid-stretch.  It’s an interesting approach, over all, but one that works better when you have the entire tale available to read, as the scenic journey through the history of Tesla – interrupted by flashbacks into Rasl’s past, which are in turn interruptions of his present day escape from Sal, that lizardy government guy – doesn’t feel immediately relevant.  Or rather, the aspects of it that are relevant are minimal; are the pieces a regular show or comic would highlight and leave the rest in the gutters.  But once you quit fighting the flow, wishing Smith would get back to the story at hand, and just go with it, it definitely deepens the potential emotional impact of things: it grounds our lead, and it grounds the sci-fi with a sense of history, both the internal stuff and the real-life Tesla stuff.

And then we’re caught up, the narrative takes a breath, and we’re introduced to god and things get weird and wonderful all over again.