Matt Johnson

RUMBLE #10-13 – Comic Review

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What?!  More RUMBLE happened and I didn’t even know.  How can this be possible?  This is a recap of RUMBLE #10-#13 which I missed during my sojourn into some sort of space-time vortex.  Does the series retain the greatness of the previous run?  Should you take the time catch up the way I did?  Read on to find out.

See my previous review of RUMBLE #9 here.

Look at this's soooo gooooood.

Look at this’s soooo gooooood.

Title:  RUMBLE #10-13
Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: James Harren
Cover Artist: James Harren
Publisher: Image
Release Date: Rumble #13: August 17, 2016.  Also catch Rumble #14 on 9.21.16 and Rumble #15 on 10.19.16.

In my review of RUMBLE #9, linked above, I mentioned how I’d jumped into the end of the current run for the purposes of the review and how much I loved the issue and all it promised.  After the review was posted I pulled some strings and acquired all of the previous issues, which I promptly devoured.  In that short time, RUMBLE became one of my favorite comics.  Somehow I’d become confused as well.  I thought that the arc was done for a time.  As it turns out Issue #10 closes the second arc and #11 begins the third.  Oops.

Rumble #10 opens quietly, taking in the aftermath of issue #9.  We are treated to a series of stark but serene images.  Our hero’s disembodied head stares sightless into the night before being picked up by its owner.  A pool of blood looms large as the page.  You can almost hear the stillness in these pages.  There is no dialogue or action until the 4th page, at which point the ride begins and doesn’t let up until the back page of the current issue.

In issues 10-13 our heroes and villains, both human and monster, make all their hidden intentions known.  There are a few hefty reveals that make a lot of the action that took place in issues #1-9 make a lot more sense.  There are also some flashback scenes (think way, way, wayyyyyy back to the time when gods ruled the earth and mankind was just a distant whisper of an idea) that also serve to explain a lot of the quirks and intricacies of what’s been going on up to this point.

In short: Our skinny wooden hero continues his quest to acquire the heart he needs in order to make the leap back to his former immortal body.  Our lead human has a surprise visit with someone he never expected to speak to, only to have his heart broken moments later.  Through this horror, he learns he’s not the only one currently embroiled in the world of the magical.  Our funny lumpy looking lead finds himself shoved into taxing situation after situation, always handling them with aplomb and some of the series best moments dialogue.  We see the inner workings of multiple factions of baddies, all leading to the same goal as our hero; possess the heart and the body, use it for evil, take over the world.  You know, the usual.

RUMBLE is weird, stylistic, and overall wholly enjoyable.  The art is perfect from cover to end-page and the story is always intriguing, never slipping into the remotest bit of predictability or rote.  Some of the pages made me laugh out loud while others tugged pretty hard at these old heart-strings in unexpected bursts of tenderness.  The violence is massive and gratuitous, as it should be, and blood and body parts fill entire pages and panes.  The art deftly captures the strangeness of the world it portrays, with human characters displaying maximally distorted versions of facial features and body types, and monsters generally doing away with most of the humanoid stock features and their own bizarre biological features.  The baddies are generally slimy, grotesque, and misshapen, to the degree it’s hard to imagine the horror that might accompany a real life encounter.  Somehow, though, James Harren manages to add a degree of charm to all of these characters, tempering the horror with some very real and occasionally comic postures and facial expressions.  A creature that is completely disturbing at first glance smiles a doofy smile and suddenly becomes almost cute.  Almost.  Harren continues to mix incredibly detailed texture with flat, featureless areas and often forces perspective into off-kilter views, all with the end result of making for a comic that feels extremely abstract and yet, somehow, very real.  John Arcudi’s storytelling really shines here as well, with our rather bizarre collection of characters feeling very organic and well fleshed.  Even the strange multi-headed dog-creature..thing has a story and a place here.  The character’s reactions are also incredibly well thought out; there’s never a feeling that anybody reacts in a way that wouldn’t be totally in keeping with how real people might, if thrown into the same untenable scenarios.

RUMBLE is a series in 3 arcs, two of which can be purchased as collected volumes now.  I highly recommend picking up all of the previous issues if you haven’t read them yet.  If you like the style, story and/or visual, you will love Hellboy/B.P.R.D. and all of the various stories connected to that world.

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