Writer John Arcudi pitches Rumble #1 as “an action adventure fantasy with some horror and some humor thrown in… sort of a hybrid of Fight Club and Clash of the Titans — with dialogue by Louie CK.”
… No idea what the hell I’m supposed to think based on that solicit, but I’m excited for the new title nonetheless. Is it good?
Rumble #1 (Image Comics)
I was confused on how to categorize Rumble# 1 going in. Now that I’m done — I’m just as mystified. And it’s a good feeling.
Aberrant warriors, talking grotesqueries and all-around uncanny creatures are being seeded into our world from one that’s very disparate. How? We don’t know yet. Why? We don’t know yet. Their plans? Ditto. There’s admittedly a very nebulous framework set in place so far but thanks to Arcudi’s excellent pacing the anticipation for what comes next isn’t tinged with disappointment and bafflement but rather, excitement and giddiness — like that feeling you got as a kid climbing the first slope of a rollercoaster.
Harren’s unique art style is the perfect complement to Arcudi’s narrative. He nails both the soaring, epic fantasy world from which the creatures hail and the tragicomic Southern Gothic of our own; his characters are lank and bedraggled looking, but no less visually striking — like slightly less eerie Egon Schiele tributes. And just wait until you see them in action. Combined with Dave Stewart’s coloring, which gives the present day scenes a foreboding, fevered dream quality — the art in this book soars just as high as the strong writing.
The most intriguing character introduced thus far isn’t even human. His name’s Rathraq (although he’s never referred to by name yet) and based on the four preview pages (that weren’t in my review copy but really should have been, as they are rife with visual substance, mythic quality and foreshadowing), back in his world — Rathraq is that dude; a legendary warrior. For some reason though, the passage into our turf changes him. He’s no less full of fury but perhaps more fragile, more ineffectual.
Arcudi said this of Rathraq in an interview with USA Today:
“He’s got a very rigid code of conduct that is almost invisible to the reader for at least the first issue or two,” the writer adds. “He seems like a loose cannon, but there’s a lot going on there.”
Going by that logic, Rathraq’s choice to lop off an old war veteran’s arm becomes a lot more interesting. Desire to test his mettle against a worthy foe/ostensibly decorated warrior from our realm or does he know something we don’t? Based on war veteran’s skeevy demeanor in the first few pages — maybe Rathraq’s actions are more retributive in nature.
Is It Good?
We’ve been given only breadcrumbs so far, but Rumble #1 has me hungry for the next course. A good (though purposely vague) first issue for what should be a series to closely watch in the next few months. Highly recommended.