Writers and Creators: Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin
Art: Dan Schkade
Colouring: Marissa Louise
Publisher: Suspicious Behavior Productions
‘When a disgruntled professional wrestler declares himself “Galactic champion of the universe” an alien planet of wrestlers see’s it as an act of war’
Admit it, That description above is a pretty good premise, right? I’ll admit, when I received a copy of this first issue of Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia, I was genuinely intrigued. First things first, though. I have to admit that I am not a fan of wrestling. The only time I watched wrestling, was when me and my older brother still lived with my parents, and little old me would have watched anything that he put on. Nevertheless, this proved to be such a wonderful and unique comic, with just a nice dash of weirdness, that I just couldn’t resist.
In terms of narrative, this first issue is relatively simple to follow. It focuses on a disgruntled washed up wrestler who once declared himself the ‘Galactic champion of the universe’. That would have been all fine and dandy, but his transmission is picked up fifteen years later by an alien planet of wrestlers, who really don’t take his ‘declaration’ all that well.
As I have said countless times before, the one thing that I am looking for in anything that I read, is a well written story that can be build on over several issues in the series. For this, I was genuinely pleased with the pacing of this first issue. It could have easily jumped straight into a frenzy, but the writers have decided to leave the galactic shenanigans to a minimum, and choosing instead to place heavy focus on the story’s main character, Rory ‘Rock n Roll’ Landell, and how he was once on top of the wrestling world, but his egomania and arrogance inevitably lead to his downfall.
One thing is for certain; The creators of this comic have a clear understanding of the wrestling world. I may not have been a fan of the industry, but I do know a lot about it. Writers Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin have created characters that reflect the ‘over the top’ nature of the wrestling heyday, and there is an authentic feel to the backstage antics, and behind the scenes nature of the wrestling world. This itself, gives the reader a chance to further get involved with the story, as well as beginning to understand the characters motivations and story much more clearly.
Artist Dan Schkade fully embraces the bold aesthetic that often goes alongside the glory days of wrestling. The art is packed full of bulging muscles, square and rigid jawlines, as well as just being utterly gorgeous. Despite it’s title, the wrestling is kept to a bare minimum within this issue, and I am excited to see Schkade’s work when the action really kicks in, and how he is going to explore the planet of Wrestletopia. If this first issue is any indication, it’s going to be solidly done as well as packing a punch. Figuratively, and maybe literally, depending on how the story goes. I also have to give credit to the colour work by Marissa Louise – it’s bold, bright and attracts your attention, by giving the story that burst of energy.
If I have one criticism to give, it would be that of the main character. For me personally, Rory Landell comes across as far too much of an irredeemable character, that I struggled to really connect with. While the writers have done an excellent job in showing the reader just how far this man has fallen from grace, it is very difficult for me to sympathize with the man, whose own arrogance crushed his career. Nevertheless, this is just the first issue, and great characters should be allowed to grow with time, and I believe that this may be what the writers have in mind. If not, the story certainly seems to be going towards what could be classed as a ‘redemption arc’ in future issues.
One thing that is a major perk, is that you do not have to be a fan of wrestling to genuinely enjoy this comic. I am not a fan of wrestling, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I do think that wrestling fans will of course appreciate this story, you do not have to know much about wrestling to have a fantastic time with Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia. This makes the story so much more appealing to a wider audience, and I have to give kudos to the writers for achieving this, because that is not easy to achieve.
Apart from a minor criticism that I mentioned above, I was genuinely surprised by the quality of Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia. As first issues go, it was incredibly well written and executed, bright and bold to match the era that it reflects, and it just has so much potential to be one of the weirdest, yet fun, rides that I have ever been on, and I highly recommend that anyone should come and join this ride. It is a great read for fans of wrestling, as well as anyone else who is looking for something different, but ultimately well told, to read. The ending leaves so much potential for the story to grow, and I for one will definitely be on board with the next issue!