"Rumble #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by John Arcudi
Illustrated by James Harren
2014, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on December 17th, 2014
When Rumble was first announced it sounded really cool, but I couldn't tell you what the comic was actually about. It promised to mix a few genres and it was described as "Louis C.K. meets Robert E. Howard in a David Fincher universe." Based on that sentence alone, I want to start throwing money at creators John Arcudi and James Harren. Needless to say, I was looking forward to this title.
Writer John Arcudi immediately sets a dismal tone for Rumble. This isn't surprising as he also co-writes a number of B.P.R.D. comics with Mike Mignola, which have a similar dark feeling. You get the sense that this is a pretty rundown area from the slanted streetlights and filthy looking buildings. Of course, that could just be Detroit. After taking a brief tour through this bleak section of the city, the book settles in to a local bar where a big scarecrow with an even bigger sword hacks off a dude's arm rather suddenly.
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This abrupt change of pace is amazing. If this were a movie you'd hear the soundtrack pick up rapidly and there would be a lot of quick cuts as this strange creature tears through the scene. Fortunately this is a comic, so while you sacrifice the soundtrack, you get some beautiful clear images from artist James Warren. There's a great looking panel of the now armless bar patron bursting through the door, blood flying from his severed limb as he screams for help with a terrified look on his face. It immediately changes the scope of the comic, making it more of a bizarre adventure story as the bartender looks on in shock.
The design for the scarecrow is top notch. This isn't that hokey brainless one you saw in Wizard of Oz. This is a shrouded warrior, covered in a thick cloak, and wielding a sword that's almost as tall as he is. His limbs are a little too long and his clothes bunch up, like they're just a bit too big for him. It gives him an otherworldly look that works well here.
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Harren draws a few other monsters in Rumble that appear later in the book that are even scarier. One of which looks like it lacks big chunks of skin, so its internal organs are sort of out on display. Just as with the scarecrow, they appear suddenly and without warning, taking our bartender further down the rabbit hole.
There are still many unanswered questions in Rumble, but this was one helluva debut issue. The action is exciting. The characters are fun and a little weird. The monsters are terrifying. This is a darker and slightly humorous take on the fantasy action / adventure story. Arcudi and Harren make it their own and do a tremendous job with it.