Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Rumble, Volume 1: What Color of Darkness? Review (John Arcudi, James Harren)


I’ve been reading Hellboy and his expanded universe books for years now and, since seeing John Arcudi’s name listed as co-writer alongside Mike Mignola’s on quite a few comics, I’ve wondered how big an influence Arcudi is on Mignola’s scripts. Because Mignola can write (and of course draw) really, really good comics but he collaborates most frequently with Arcudi on BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) and, man, those books are mostly sucky! 

Here’s my answer: Rumble. Arcudi is joined by BPRD regulars artist James Harren and colourist Dave Stewart who both produce fine looking pages - but the writing is bog-standard! 

Rathraq, a scarecrow warrior god with a big sword, is looking for his body in modern day America. He wasn’t always a scarecrow, he just had his body stolen and his soul put into a scarecrow. Rathraq encounters and fights many demons and monsters and kills them all with his big sword. He’s basically Hellboy and Johann Kraus minus their personalities (or any personality for that matter!) rolled up in one dull character. 

Bobby the bartender and his idiot friend Del are the sort of main characters that you can’t possibly give a crap about. Bobby wants to get with hot pants Timah (such an unfortunate name - every time I saw that I kept thinking of South Park’s TIMMAH! and laughing) while Del just sort of hangs out with Rathraq because there’s so little to his “character”. 

I love Harren’s art style and it’s easy to see why he got hired to draw BPRD when his monsters are so good. Stewart’s colours also make the visuals pop! and their covers are amazing. The story though was very flat - wasn’t terribly interested in anyone, didn’t really care about Rathraq getting his body back, couldn’t care less about Bobby hooking up with TIMMAH! and the comic was basically one meaningless fight after another. Is Rathraq gonna slice that monster in half with his sword? Yup. Just like the one before that… and the one before that… oh look, here comes Del with some “hilarious” comment about slicing up monsters with a sword. Is it over yet?

Image are definitely putting out the most interesting, must-read comics in the business right now, but Rumble isn’t one of them. 

TIMMAH!

Rumble, Volume 1: What Color of Darkness?

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