Art and Story by Jeff Smith
Published by Cartoon Books
When last we reviewed RASL we learned that the military definitely wants our hero working for their side and we’ve seen possible glimpses of a total collapse of the multi verse. A collapse brought on by your lead character’s somewhat active and busy dimension hopping. It’s not entirely certain what problem he’s decided to solve this issue but he seems to be moving toward saving all known parallel universes, which would be quite a lot. I’m trying to figure out if this would affect just the Earth in a negative way or the whole universe in a negative way but its not entirely clear.
In fact, what this issue is mostly about is more meditation about the life of Nicola Tesla, world’s greatest scientist possibly ever. One of the secret joys of reading RASL is how the historical stuff you’re given seems to overwhelm the fictional narrative. Here’s a sample page about Tesla.
I just didn’t know any of this stuff existed. I knew that Einstein was trying to come up with a unification theory and failed (Of interest to comics fans who wonder if there are potential real life Reed Richards types out there: try out a site called “BlackLight Power“. Even sounds science fictional but the founder says his ideas are real and his unification theory works…) but I never knew that there was a paper involved and that it seems to hint at string theory, at least if the illustration is a guide. I had no idea that they had a rivalry of any kind and that Tesla thought some of Einstein’s ideas weren’t very good. I had no idea that Tesla himself had some ideas of his own about a unification theory that had ramifications all their own. According to the writer Tesla was horrified about what he discovered and kept quiet about it.
Here’s another page:
Again, this is astonishing. I knew that Einstein and Leo Szilard were rushing to get the nuclear info into the hands of the Allies (Reviewed a graphic novel about that history…) but I never knew that Tesla was involved in that as well. In fact, from the way this is written you’re not certain if he died in his sleep or was murdered. Was Tesla killed by the Soviets to prevent further information from being shared with the Americans or vice versa? What were in those final papers? Is there a black book? And was it ever deciphered?
You find yourself thinking more about Tesla this issue than the minor plot line that involves saving all the known universes from collapsing in on themselves but still a very rewarding read, so 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you’re not reading RASL you’re missing out on one of the most interesting science fiction comics ever published.