You know, it’s really disappointing that this series isn’t selling all that well in single-issue form because it’s a ton of fun. I realize that the first volume takes a while to get going and to make its purpose clear, which is a liability when you’re drip-feeding your audience information on a monthly basis. Three volumes in and writer John Arcudi and artist James Harren have done an excellent job building on the story of their fantasy warrior from a million years ago, Rathraq, who has woken up in the present day in a scarecrow body while the monsters he used to fight, the Esu, thrive in the shadows and have possession of his old body. Now, the crafty Cogan, who appears to be on no one’s side but his own, has found a way to put one of Rathraq’s old foes, the six-armed former King Asura, into his old body. While the plan was for Asura to burn the body to spite Rathraq, the former king decides he likes this new body a whole lot more and sets about to capture its missing heart from the Esu so he can rebuild his kingdom on Earth.
In case that summary wasn’t clear enough, this volume is no less weird than the two which preceded it. Arcudi also manages to fill the margins of the story with more fun strangeness like the group of half-Esu rooming at Del’s apartment subsisting on anchovy pizza and repeated viewings of “Frankenstein in the Congo,” Cogan taking Asura’s pet hydrant out for a walk and waiting for it to do its business, and a couple of cops watching the Rathraq/Asura fight unfold in front of them while one calmly reasons that their sidearms and 12-gage aren’t going to make a lick of difference in this matter. On that note, the volume does manage a nice escalation of carnage throughout as more parties keep getting involved, right up through a flame-throwing battle royale in the streets. Yet for all this craziness, Arcudi and Harren still manage to give the story some heart at the right times, usually seen through how regular guy Bobby copes with what his life has become. Though, this time around it’s his sorta-girlfriend who winds up saving the day here. Vol. 3 does end on an ambiguous down note, which has me hoping against hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of “Rumble.” If you’re like me and not into buying single issues, then go pick up the trades (and convince two of your friends to do the same) so we can make sure the story doesn’t end here.