Rumble: Image Comics Brutal Fantasy Epic, Explained

Rumble Image feature

In the wake of a war that's lasted an entire lifetime and a world that's populated by monsters in disguise, the young Bobby is only a mere bartender. However, when a giant scarecrow attacks one of Bobby's bar patrons with a magic sword, he finds himself thrust into a cosmic saga in John Acrudi, James Harren and David Ruben's Rumble. This Image Comics series sweeps up the human race into an epic primordial struggle between warring gods and mythological monsters from ages past.

After fending off the scarecrow and stealing his sword, Bobby is accosted by demonic monsters looking for the sword. However, Bobby is seemingly rescued by the scarecrow, who reveals himself to be an ancient god named Rathraq. After being betrayed by his fellow god Cogan, the man who got his arm cut off in the bar, Bobby had his soul imprisoned by the Esu, monsters who now live on Earth in disguise.

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Now Rathraq, called “Rattrap” by Bobby’s boisterous friend Del, is trapped in a body stuffed with straw and still keen on his mission to rid the world of monsters. Also swept up into this unfolding cosmic battle is Timah, a young woman of Iranian descent who helps Bobby translate ancient messages and is later revealed to have some supernatural secrets of her own.

For the most part, the monstrous Esu, led by their queen Xotlaha, seem content to live quiet lives and not cause much trouble for humans, but Rathraq’s return reignites the spark of the ancient conflict between gods and monsters, leading to a “rumble” of truly epic proportions with humanity caught in the middle.

With Cogan playing his chaotic agenda and other factions of Esu vying for Xotlaha's throne, Rathraq and his ragtag band of allies have their work cut out for them. But as Rathraq continues to struggle against the Esu and to regain his original body, he learns things about both humanity and his ancient enemy that lead him to begin questioning some of his earlier convictions, while Bobby learns that his world is indeed a bigger and scarier one than he first believed.

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Rumble also has visually compelling, fascinating takes on mythological characters. From Hydras to bombastic fire demons and Lovecraftian horrors, Rumble is jam-packed with a variety of creatures and eye-catching monstrosities for Rathraq to fight, which give it an eerie tone when contrasted with its relatively realistic surroundings.

That eeriness is only heightened by the unique nature of the afterlife in this tale. While some fans might joke about the revolving door of death and resurrection in superhero comics, it’s a key aspect of the narrative in Rumble. As Cogan explains to Bobby, both Rathraq and the Esu are capable of leaving the afterlife when they're slain and can then inhabit new bodies of slain mortals or animals.

With that wrinkle, the battles between the gods and monsters who shape Rumble's world are truly never-ending and seem to promise an endless amount of epic mythological action.

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