Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Rumble: A Woe That Is Madness (Image Comics, 2015; #6-10)

If you listened to the Panelology Halloween Spooptacular! that spawned Clearing the Backlog, you might remember us mentioning Rumble's first arc. I read it then and enjoyed it, but we didn’t talk long about it because it wasn’t really a horror title.

Instead, Rumble focuses on how being drawn into the good-vs-evil fight between gods and monsters affects its main character, Bobby. The first volume saw his life get flipped-turned upside down when a sword-wielding scarecrow crossed his path. Now, he must deal with the emotional toll of saving the day as strangeness continues to fill his life.

Arcudi and Harren have built a world of contradictions. Some monsters are good; others are just scared. Few are evil. Sometimes doing the good thing forces a person to be a monster for a moment, to protect others from bigger monsters. And even when it’s the right thing, the decision can—and should—hang heavy over the person who makes it. That conscience is the difference between monster and merely monstrous. And all this plays out in a shadowy, grimy world that would be grotesque enough on its own, but the monsters and demons who show up kick that up to eleven.

If you haven’t checked out Rumble and are into urban fantasy stories about morality, then get on it. It doesn’t always feel high-stakes, and it spends more time on little moments than the big ones. It thrives on dissonance, but it never feels like it makes choices in the name of gratuitous weirdness.

Collected in

  • Rumble, Vol. 2: A Woe That Is Madness (#6-10)


Co-Creators: John Arcudi, James Harren | Colorist: Dave Stewart | Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos | Designer: Vincent Kukua

The Flash by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar (DC Comics, 1987; #130-141)

The Amazing Spider-Man: Big Time (Marvel Comics, 1963; #648-651)