The last issue of Rumble further cemented scarecrow warrior Rathraq as a bona fide bad-ass — but kinda made him look like a dick too — considering we don’t know why he’s swinging his oversized sword around, why he’s so damn angry and the fact he chopped some poor schmoe’s pet hydra up right in front of him. Made the guy cry and everything.
Rumble #3 promises to dish Rathraq’s origin; will it bolster the bad-ass narrative or fumble the demystification in a “midichlorians are behind the Force” sort of way? Is it good?
Rumble #3 (Image Comics)
I forgive you Rathraq. I don’t care if you diced Lerna on a chopping board and then crammed hydra head sashimi into her owner’s reluctant, baby-stubborn maw.
You have a war hound.
Surely a he-man with a war hound named Slanjau can’t be all that bad.
Writer John Arcudi steers us through Rathraq’s backstory with perfect timing and plenty of clout. Like a conflation of Old Norse and Aztec myth with a dash of Homer’s Odyssey and Tolkien thrown in for good measure, the warrior’s history is every bit as epic and compelling as you’d expect. We learn more of Rathraq’s strange otherworld; why he’s trapped in a scarecrow body; why a fire demon damn near roasted him last issue; and most importantly, his reasons for fighting. If only Rathraq’s audience, human lead Bobby LaRosa and his friend Del were as easily enraptured.
Or had better listening skills.
The art tandem of James Harren and Dave Stewart continues to come correct. And tantalize. Penciler Harren’s striking character designs (especially the wretched-looking demons and assorted grotesqueries), detailed locales and sense of grandeur and scope are bolstered by every stroke of Stewart’s color — from snow-capped mountain peaks blurred by hazes of white; to immense granite castle parapets so coal-black in color they blend with the shadows surrounding; to the pastel tones of ancestral castle pillars to the incandescence of every magic spell or ethereal entity — everything works. You’ll find yourself whispering, “Nice,” at least a few times during this issue in the manner of that shady old guy posted up at the bar on a Saturday night, leering at every young girl half his age that saunters by.
Let’s not underscore Arcudi’s writing, either. His exposition is engaging, his characterization compelling, his dialogue cutting, and every bit of interaction between anachronistic Rathraq and his modern day companions is priceless and hilarious. Great work all around.
Is It Good?
The sense of mystique and wonderment instilled by the first two issues of Rumble is only bolstered by an expository issue that comes at the perfect time.
Now that we know the reason behind Rathraq’s initiative, the series’ motif has shifted from “there are some pretty bad-ass things going on here and it’s pretty cool but I have no idea why,” to “I see you Rathraq. Do the damn thing.” Excellent stuff.