Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Club - October Review - Petrograd


Average rating - 8

Petrograd is a stand alone graphic novel that follows a reluctant middle class British spy charged with the seemingly impossible task of assassinating the most important man in Russia : Grigori Rasputin.

War Sucks

Petrograd is a work of fiction based on facts. The introduction did an excellent job in setting the dismal tone and depicting the desperate circumstances that most of Europe found themselves in during the first world war.

“ The story seems very true to history and puts you into the mindset of the Russian people at the time” - Rene

Personally the thought of reading a historical story sounded at best like a punishment which is why I picked it up one night thinking something boring to read would help me sleep and instead found myself reading the whole thing in one sitting . The writer did an amazing job at slowly leading you into the plot by subtly educating you on the circumstances and interests that shaped World War One. The introduction did leave the first part of the book with a fairly slow pace but one that definitely worked in the stories favor.

“The pacing seemed slow at first but it was really perfect “ - Mathieu

“ It was a great introduction to the history behind the time of the war” - Colin

The Reluctant Spy

The story follows Cleary, a former solider turned spy for the British government. When the story opens Cleary is well established in the city of Petrograd having contacts within both the upper and lower class societies as well as the Russian secret police.

Cleary himself is definitely no James Bond; he has no gadgets, no fast cars, and no aptitude for violence. He is just an ordinary man willing to do anything his country asks of him to avoid being sent back to the front lines.

“Cleary was an every man, more like a real spy” - Remi

“ It was a spy story without all the tech” - Matt

As mentioned earlier Cleary is middle class man, a concept that didn’t exist in Russia at the time. Being somewhere in the middle is really the essence of all Cleary’s problems, he constantly finds himself being drug in all directions and never doing what he thinks is right.

Eventually Cleary finds himself stuck with the impossible task of assassinating Rasputin with only idiot aristocrats to help him. Watching the poor practical Brit try to plot with a group of flamboyant fools makes for a highly entertaining story that leads him to an ending that finally sees him pull off a political coup worthy of a legendary spy.

The story is propelled by the fears, anxieties , difficulties, and ultimately the personal growth of Cleary" - Gabriel


This book is visually stunning, The cover work alone makes it worth the purchase .

The line work is simple but extremely effective. At first it can be a little difficult to follow the story until you become familiar with the characters but once you do the simple but effective style marked by bold expressions and stunning scenery will leave you nothing but positive things to say.

The color work featured a sepia tone which in addition to adding to the old fashioned feel of the story creates beautifully shaded panels and subtle but power effects like the first appearance of the stories “villain” Rasputin.


Read this book! Seriously! Almost everyone who reviewed it loved it and was really surprised that they did. A lot of us are big super hero fans so a book about an old school spy in Russia would not have been on our usual reading list which left us all pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it.

“ Not the usual, so it was nice to get my feet wet somewhere else” - Mark

“ It was a nice change of pace from super heroes” - James

The story was well written weaving humor and violence effortlessly into the bleak backdrop of early 1900’s Russia. The artwork was gorgeous and the level of detail work that went into the overall visual package was top notch . I really did expect to hate this book since it was not at all my style but it was possibly the best thing I’ve read all year! That being said some of us loved it some of us were under whelmed.

“ I could see it as a movie” - Keenan

“Not the be all and end all but it didn’t suck” - Brad

“ I wouldn’t re-read it” - Rick


Picked the book : Cripps - Rating n/a

Theoretical quote “ I picked this book but didn’t show up”

Harshest Critic: Boutet - Rating 3

“ Incredibly promising but didn’t deliver. The artwork was left wanting”

Besting Rating: Rene / Keenan / Colin/ Gabriel - Rating 9

“When this many people give it a 9 do you really need a quote to back it up” - Me

If you've read Petrograd please comment and let us all know what you thought!

Next Month's Selection : Infinity Gauntlet

Pick up a copy and join us November 30th


  1. Read it and loved it!
    I have a soft spot for the Russian revolution and anything in its vicinity. Made me delve into the history aspect a bit more, too. Great story, artwork was exceptional too.
    - Mario

  2. All very well said! loved this book.