Cover of the first volume of RASL.

Cover of the first volume of RASL.

RASL: The Drift is the first of four volumes in a graphic novel series by artist Jeff Smith (of Bone fame). While it has been out for almost four years now, I only recently learned of it and picked it up to read since I had loved the Bone series. This may have contributed to my less-than-enthusiastic response to RASL: it is nothing like Bone.

Rasl is a former scientist who was working on projects related to Nikolai Tesla’s work. After becoming disillusioned with the bureaucracy, he decides to take his project and disappear, becoming a reality-jumping art thief, stealing artwork in one alternate reality and then selling them in another. As he travels, he begins to notice a mysterious figure tracking his every move.

The artwork in RASL is nothing at all like that in Bone. It is much more gritty and dark, seeming much more heavy, and there is very little (if any) light-hearted humor. The story is somewhat disjointed at the beginning, and I was regularly wondering exactly what was going on in any given scene. I really didn’t enjoy the method of Smith’s storytelling this time around as it made me regularly remember I was reading a book rather than letting me immerse myself in the story.

I’ve seen others compare it to Sin City due to the violence and sexual content, which is also not my cup of tea, so I’m not going to recommend this one. The series has been completed now, so anyone interested should be able to easily find it. I won’t be finishing the series.

Release Date: January 20, 2009 (USA)
ISBN: 1888963204 (9781888963205)
Publisher: Cartoon Books

MySF Rating: Two point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 10%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 4
Language: 3
Nudity: 2
Sexuality: 4
Violence: 4