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Philip Gelatt (Author), Tyler Crook (Illustrator)

Oni Press (Publisher)

The year is 1916, and the Great War has been raging for well over a year. Nations are locked together through handshake treaties. Their soldiers are dying between trenches for barely any land gain. On the Russian home front, the people are starving. This is the backdrop for the historical graphic novel Petrograd, a story about the plot to assassinate the most influential man in all of Russia—the Mad Monk Grigori Rasputin. Eschewing the popular mythical version of the story for one closer to realism, Philip Gelatt weaves a tale of espionage around British Secret Intelligence Service agents in the city of Petrograd and their involvement with the Russian government. The agents are working to keep Russia from exiting the war, even as the country teeters on the edge of revolution. Penning his first comics work, Gelatt shows a firm grasp of the medium, building a complex plot full of rich and detailed characters while also knowing when to let moments breath and allow the artist to take over. That artist is Tyler Crook, whose art, at first glance, seems simple and maybe even cartoonish, but is the perfect complement for the subject material. All of the characters have unique looks, and Crook’s panel-to-panel storytelling brings the perfect dramatic tension to each moment. This is by far one of the best stories told in comic form in recent memory, and the only problem you’ll find with Petrograd is that there aren’t more comics like it.

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