Brilliant art and strange-ass storytelling meet head-to-head in the inaugural issue of the Rumble this week. And so far, it’s a page turner.
Here’s the official word from Image:
Okay, so a scarecrow walks into a bar…and proceeds to wreak havoc across two worlds! After a long absence, Rathraq, Scarecrow Warrior God, is back—and very unhappy. Bad news for his old enemies, yes, but worse news for everybody else! JOHN ARCUDI and JAMES HARREN bring you a modern day action/adventure fantasy thriller where rundown dive bars, undead kitty cats, psycho skinheads, and giant mummies all play a part. It’s Louis C.K. meets Robert E. Howard in a David Fincher universe.
I love first issues. Not only is it a creator’s chance to make a first impression, but if done well, it acts as a blueprint for the whole series yet to come. After all, characters must get introduced, the rules of the new universe must get established, and there needs to be an event strong enough to launch an entire series that could (presumably) go one for years, or even decades. Most first issues crack under the pressure, but a good launch will hit at least two of these notes. A brilliant one will hit all three. Well, Rumble #1, which drops this week is good — very good.
Writer John Arcudi introduces readers to dark urban world fraught with problems — if crime and desolate cityscapes weren’t bad enough, however, now the poor souls of this un-named city also have to deal with the emergence of supernatural elements — the first being a sword wielding scarecrow who seems intent on dismembering a barfly who’s just trying to stumble home alone. Our reluctant hero is a bartender named Bobby — he disarms the scarecrow but must now contend with the strange creatures who want the sword back. Overall, Arcudi’s writing is sharp and funny; his fantastic situations are effectively rooted in dry humor and he deftly pulls the reader along, one page after another — even if the inciting event is not the most compelling thing I’ve ever read.
The art, by James Harren is stunning. No, really — it’s stunning, and worth the cover price alone. His opening shot of a mystical landscape seems to suggest that Rumble will be about the meeting of two dimensions, but his subsequent shot of an abandoned amusement park proves he can capture our gritty world just as well. I literally read this issue twice just to soak in the art, and I bet you will too.
Overall, Rumble #1 offers an enjoyable introduction to what promises to be a strange and quirky title. Go grab this thing today.