Rumble vol. 2: A Woe That is Madness

If the first volume of this series from “B.P.R.D.” co-writer John Arcudi and frequent artist James Harren had one problem, it was the fact that it took a few issues for its point to come into focus.  That’s not a problem with this second volume as it quickly brings us up to speed on the saga of Bobby the bartender, ancient warrior Rathraq whose soul is now stuck in a scarecrow, and Bobby’s good ol’ boy buddy Del who hangs around mostly for purposes of comic relief.  While the last volume ended with Rathraq getting his body back from the chief of the monstrous Esu, it does him little good without the heart to go along with it.  As the warrior angsts about this issue (and chases demonic rats in a sewer) a childlike human/Esu hybrid crosses the paths of our protagonists and reveals a tragic story:  Her persecuted siblings have been enslaved by the Esu Guttvang and are being butchered for their meat.  Even if the parties began this story as mortal enemies, this is common ground for them to unite against a very bad guy.

With all of the setup for the series out of the way, vol. 2 of “Rumble” really does hit the ground running and delivers a more accessible story this time around.  It’s easy to get involved in the plight of the hybrid human/Esu and it allows many opportunities for Bobby, Del, and Rathraq to shine as they battle against the antagonists.  The warrior gets some impressively kinetic fight scenes against a giant humanoid warthog, while the humans give it their all against someone way out of their weight class.  We also get some further insight into the Esu hierarchy and the stalemate they face against Rathraq, and some fun scenes as the mischievous Crogan plays his own game in this conflict.  All of this is to say that Arcudi delivers a good story filled with memorable characters, while Harren’s talent for action, monster designs, and human drama is on fine display here.  “Rumble” is good, weird stuff (maybe too weird for some) and recommended to fans of the creators’ work on “B.P.R.D.,” or anyone who has wanted to check out that series but has felt daunted by the amount of material they’d need to catch up on in order to enjoy it.

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