by John Arcudi, James Harren, and Dave Stewart
As the first arc come to an end, the creative team of Rumble have brought readers the showdown that the story has been building towards. Last issue provided a lot of background information about the universe and the beings that have existed, and placed the characters in a very strange position, having to make decisions that really tested them. In the fifth and final issue of the first arc, Bobby is faced with a difficult choice, and the god-like beings come face to face in a deal that never was going to be straight forward.
Since the second issue, readers have been learning more and more about the scarecrow warrior that seemed as much a threat as he did an ally. Arcudi and Harren have done an excellent job establishing a very rich world in Rumble and readers were given enough exciting originality, that the restraint from exposition early on was of little consequence. In the fifth issue, the stage has been set and the players are well established. Rathraq has agreed to meet the Esu out in the old barn in an attempt to retrieve his body. Of no surprise to anyone, the exchange is surely a trap as these evil beings have no reason to give in to the vengeful warrior. Meanwhile, Bobby is dealing with inner turmoil about his decision to pursue his own interests over that of his friend and, maybe, the universe.
One of the more unexpected elements of such an epic and grand fantasy story as Rumble has been over these first issues is its use of humor. While members of the creative team have certainly been involved in comedic properties, the story of Rumble does not necessarily appear as though it would be one with room for that kind of writing. However, the character of Del allows for that type of writing and it helps to balance the story and the reading experience in each issue. From his introduction to the series, Del’s persona and the misfortunes of Bobby have both allowed for an excellent infusion of humor into the story. As Bobby attempts to dismiss the greater threats that he is called to in an attempt to win over Timah, Arcudi and Harren run Bobby through the classic “angel and devil on the shoulder” bit. After some hilarious writing in issue four putting Del and Rathraq together on a team up, leaving Del to ramble on about his views on the world, the creators mix in another great sequence of humor here. Despite this mechanic being far too simplistic and silly in most situations, the creators handle it very well, poking fun at it, pushing the story forward and bringing in the levity that the series has managed to include throughout.
It is this humor, just as masterfully captured in the art as it is in the writing, that brings such a degree of charm to Rumble. In the last issue, readers were able to see just what is at the core of the flame-creature, Nusku, and the fifth issue has a similar moment of comedy amidst a chaotic and violent battle in the barn. Rumble is filled with countless aspects of which most stories would hope to capture just a few. The creators have a masterful handle on their concept, from the grand picture, to its pacing, art style and impeccable colors. Dave Stewart’s incredible talent is absolutely on display in these issues and his gorgeous color palette makes each scene feel all the more kinetic and exciting. Whether it be two characters standing idly on a street, or a room of creatures in the heat of battle, every page of Rumble is stunning.
With an excellent choice in how to set up the clash between Rathraq and the Esu, the creative team behind Rumble have wrapped up their first arc and set up the story to come. While most readers would have expected the meeting to go south, the choices that the creators make, and how these decisions impact or further explore the personalities of the main characters, only improve the world that is being built and the anticipation for the second arc. It may be a few months before readers are able to get a new issue of Rumble, but it is plenty of time to share this fantastic new story with as many people as possible. Rumble is absolutely a contender for one of the best books this year.