Populated with fun characters and awesome artwork, Rumble #12 catches the eye with its unique art and pacey storytelling, in a rip-roaring tale of good versus evil.
Allied with Bobby and Timmah, a trickster god and a seven-headed hydra, can Rathraq, immortal warrior god trapped in the body of a scarecrow, take down Plague, one of the Scourge Knights of the Apocalypse, before all of existence is infected? Find out in our Major Spoilers review of Rumble #12!
Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: David Rubin
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 22nd, 2019
Previously in Rumble: Rathraq, ancient warrior god, has had better days. Freed from eternal imprisonment, he finds his immortal soul stuffed into a scarecrow’s body. Still, a hero’s got to do what a hero’s got to do – and after taking out his archenemy, Xotlaha, Rathraq, and his new friends, must take down the Scourge Knights of the Apocalypse!
It takes a writer of considerable skill to balance the epic with touches of humor as well as writer John Arcudi does in Rumble #12, but does it with ease. His job is made even easier with the delightful artwork of David Rubin, whose cartoon-esque art style is a welcome reminder that the epic doesn’t have to be grandiose.
After vanquishing one of the Scourge Knights of the Apocalypse, Rathraq races across the desert with his friends. Bobby confronts the reality of his partner Timma’s pregnancy, with Rathraq throwing in portentous encouragement from the sidelines. In the car towing their trailer, sit skeletal armed trickster god Cog, and his loudmouth compatriot. Cog is planning the next phase of their quest to take down the Scourge Knights, just as Plague begins to infect all of humanity.
WE CAN BE HEROES
Rumble #12 and the issues that came before have built in intricate mythology using all the usual tropes – warrior gods, evil queens, black magic, the quest – an inverted them. Rathraq isn’t the usual muscle-bound one true her, but instead, his soul is trapped in the body of a scarecrow. His friends aren’t valiant warriors, but a mishmash of people with their own goals and desires. Bobby and Timma’s brief interlude demonstrates that human needs can be as resonant as a war between gods, and demonstrates Arcudi’s deft writing skills.
Not only does Arcudi bring impactful character moments, but he brings to Rumble #12 an almost non-stop story – a race across the desert, then a magic ritual to summon a fire-demon, then a battle against the Plague Knight in a disgustingly realized dimension. Rubin’s organic artwork, with colorist Dave Stewart’s skills, really brings this sequence to life. Indeed, every panel of Rumble #12 is rife with something to look at and admire. There’s a riot of color and movement, every inch packed with detail that’s deserving of not only a second look, but indeed a third.
Even where there is no direct combat, where the fight between fire-demon Nusku and the Plague Knight is literally a trial by fire, the stakes are high. The infection of Bobby and Timmah are horrific, their bodies breaking out in pus-filled sores and rashes. Rubin seems to take delight in showing the effects of the plague. Indeed, his depiction of the Plague Scourge Knight is a living embodiment of disease, a grotesque image that lingers long in the memory.
The delightful aspect of Rumble #12 is that Rathraq does very little except deliver epically leaden that serve a comedic purpose. His sword arm is useless against the plague coming to infect humanity, and it is left to the guile of the trickster god, Cog to win the day. Not all heroes win by might and main, but talent and skill.
BOTTOM LINE: I’M IN AWE
I’m left in awe whenever I come across an issue as accomplished at this. The sprawling, organic artwork is the main reason to read the story, but Arcudi’s deft storytelling, his undermining of tropes is also instructive. There’s almost a 70s cult vibe to Rumble #12 that is light-years away from the usual chrome tinged slick visuals we’ve come to expect. Rumble #12 is a fascinating comic, and the series is one to watch.