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Rumble #8

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by John Arcudi, James Harren and Dave Stewart

The second arc of Rumble has been quite different from how the series began. In place of a single, ongoing tale has been a series of vignette issues. Despite the shift in focus, the creators have managed to keep intrigue rather high. There is no clear picture what these last few issues are moving toward, but they are each as skillfully crafted and impressive as those from the first arc. Here, John Arcudi, James Harren and Dave Stewart present a Halloween issue, and the leads from this story have about the type of night one might expect in this universe.

The story opens with a brief flashback for Del. It’s an excellent introduction to this Halloween-centric issue, and while it only lasts for a single page; it is part of a subtle plot line that runs through to the book’s final page. The creators of Rumble have a real strong understanding of the space of every page and how to tell so much story within each one. While the focus of the issue is on the night, the holiday and the strange company that Robbie has found himself in, there is another part of the issue that is incredibly understated and all the more impressive. Readers may pause at the ending of the issue and wonder just what it means, but that is where rereading this chapter will reward the audience. Arcudi and Harren make careful steps in dialogue and in the visuals to seed this other bit in. As such, the closest of readers will catch some subtle clues in the art, adding a real nice touch to the book.

Arcudi and Harren find a way to really convey a sense of the holiday. Between the sights, sounds and the mood that Dave Stewart’s colors are able to convey, the issue certainly feels like it matches the setting for which it strives. As Robbie and Del plan to meet up, the two find themselves having an event-filled night that only characters in this world could expect. Reluctantly, Robbie is tasked with finding the home of two lost Trick-R-Treaters who seem to have stayed out far too late. All the while, the book’s protagonist is being tailed by a pack of creatures that wouldn’t blend in even on Halloween night. Once again, the art is absolutely stunning, especially during the action-filled sequences. Each page feels kinetic and exciting as Rathraq darts across panel after panel, fending off these treacherous beings. While the plot of the book is somewhat simplistic, the underlying story and the impressive construction of the issue make for a great read.

Rumble continues to be a book that feels incapable of taking a step backwards. Even though this second arc has a very different approach and tone than did the first, the story is still compelling. As the book pushes forward, readers will be left to wonder just how these pieces are going to come together. But just as the conclusion of the issue leaves some pieces out, the entire arc has kept readers just enough in the dark to make the eventual payoff all the more sweet. For now, readers will just have the impeccable art and excellent script to hold them over.

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