The first issue of Rumble brought fantasy, action, Southern-Gothic tinged grit and a whole lot of weird. The second issue aims to provide some answers, raise even more questions and once again bring the ruckus.
Is it good?
Rumble #2 (Image Comics)
A man comes home from work. “Lerna, I’m home,” he calls into his dark apartment.
“Ah, so that’s how it is,” he says. “… We’ll see about that.” He arranges a set of dinner plates on the table. A single dog bowl. He starts cracking open food cans with an opener and filling them. If this doesn’t get ol’ Lerna out there, nothing will…
Pretty standard stuff right? It would be… except the guy has six arms; one for each of the heads on his giant, frisky Lernaean Hydra/reptile monster-pet. (The name Lerna’s starting to make more sense now, isn’t it?) In most mythical settings, the two would be unequivocal villains — the chthonic creature and his many-armed keeper the nemeses for some gallant hero — but in Rumble, they are deconstructed character archetypes in every sense of the term. Lerna greets its master not unlike Dino would Fred Flinstone, tongues waggling, yammering, playfully tackling. D’aww. Ain’t that adorable?
And that’s exactly what keeps Rumble so interesting. We have a sense of the book’s overarching theme, but we’re still left piecing together the details and scratching our heads alongside human protagonist, Bobby LaRosa.
As the layers of writer John Arcudi’s narrative are peeled away our ostensible hero Rathraq, self-proclaimed protector of “men and women” comes across more savage butcher than the noble warrior he imagines himself. Like when Rathraq eventually confronts the six-armed man in an alleyway and ends up lopping the heads from Lerna’s body in a single sword-swipe — there’s no sense of triumph. Just pathos. Rathraq didn’t just vanquish an infamous beast of legend in some Odyssean trial. He murdered a guy’s pet that was just trying to protect its master. Rathraq, you dick.
Rumble’s art remains impressive as ever. Artist James Harren and colorist Dave Stewart simply bring the world and its constituents to life with aplomb. Everything from the ominous cityscapes awash with Stewart’s cool purple and orange hues to Harren’s crosshatched, thick-lined characters — the book has a unique and bizarre sense energy that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in comicdom.
The funky range of creatures are particularly fun to stare at: gape-mawed demons, stone-skinned gargoyles, crocodile-skinned bog mummies dripping with sewer fluids and even a fat shit cat named Bildad with Hypno Toad-esque eyes agoggle — Rumble features a menagerie of creepy-ass beasts and their sense of impressiveness is never lost, even when they’re set into action. Great stuff.
Is It Good?
Rumble is a well-oiled machine that continues to impress. The action is powerful, the artwork is bewitching and the steadily unraveling storyline intrigues. Get you some if you haven’t already.