Review by Ian Keogh
The maguffin around which the events of Rumble are wrapped is that ancient Sumerian warrior Rathraq is but a shadow because he’s been separated from his heart. By human standards he’s still a being of great power, but he’s not what he should be. Before he can do much about it, though, there’s a scourge set across the land, or New York anyway.
With a big caveat we’ll get to, Last Knight is Rumble dragged back on track, yet to all intents and purposes its just as much a diversion as the previous Things Remote. The difference is that there’s a far greater sense of reaching to the core of the characters. The initial conflict is just the first stage in dealing with the Four Scourge Knights of the Apocalypse, the traditional Death, Famine, Plague and War despite the changed name, and John Arcudi is clever enough to enforce that each needs handled in a vastly different way. Doing this illustrates the power levels going on in Rumble more efficiently. The result is four really interesting chapters, one including a neat addendum to the previous book. The caveat is how well you feel David Rubín’s approach fits the tone of the series. There’s no questioning the quality, but although he adopts a more serious style of cartooning, his creatures sometimes bizarrely resembling something Jim Woodring would create, there’s still a feeling that his style is too goofy for what’s going on. Still, it’s a killer story, and if that’s the end of Rumble, it’s a good way to go.
It’s not quite the end, however, as six shorter stories by Arcudi follow, one of them drawn by original series artist James Harren. All six are Rathraq solos, Arcudi providing more traditional barbarian stories, meat and potatoes for Alex Horley and Gerardo Zaffino who illustrate them in prime sword and sorcery style, providing power and might. Matej Stic and Gonzalo Ruggieri are given slimmer pieces, Ruggieri’s pages moving toward impressionism, while the cartooning of Andrew MacLean is stiff and awkward on another more ordinary story. Harren continues that, and looks to have modified his own style to more resemble Rubín’s work, although his layouts have a very different look. All things considered, while some of the art is nice, a more definitive ending to Rathraq’s story would have been the preferred choice for this final collection.