Writers: Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin
Publishers: Suspicious Behavior Productions – Starburns Industries Press
Art: Dan Schkade and David Hahn
Colouring: Marissa Louise
Lettering: A Larger World Studios
“I am Manifest Destiny, champion of all galaxies known and unknown” – Manifest Destiny, Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia.
The Wrestletopians are here, planet earth is being held hostage, and the hunt for Rory Landell, the man who claimed to be the undisputed ‘galactic champion of the universe’ is well under way. To be fair to Rory, who could have known that his ‘transmission’ back in issue 1 would be taking by an alien planet as an act of war? I guess in a fun sense of irony Rory really did become the legend he always thought he should be. Just maybe not in the sense that he would have liked.
The third issue in this wonderful indie comic series jumps straight into the action, as the Wrestletopians literally smash into Dick Drasin’s life (and office!). Our big bad, Manifest Destiny, cannot let Rory’s ‘challenge’ go unheeded. And he is here to heed the hell out that challenge, the whole world be damned.
Writers Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin continue to delve into these characters that we have come to know quite well over the previous 2 issues, as they begin to provide the reader with touches of subtle character developments. Each character has their own story, and the writing team begin to give our leading man’s character some meat on the bones. Like many washed up stars from a bygone era, Rory is desperately trying to hold on to his glory days even though he knows it’s over. It’s not a particularly huge moment, but it is subtle enough for the reader to pick up on, and I have to give kudos to the writing team for giving us these subtle moments that make Rory more and more likable, and more human as the story progresses.
Not only did the writers flesh out our existing characters, but they also introduced us to some new ones, as The Wrestletopians take center stage in this issue. It’s not an easy task but Matt and Ed pull it off. For anyone who grew up watching professional wrestling then you will feel right at home with The Wrestletopians. These over-the-top characters could almost have been pulled straight from WWF era, and their constant use of the word ‘brother’ is a relic that closely associated with that time. It’s these subtle ‘tip of the hat’ moments to the professional wrestling era that have made this book such a success, and it’s something that I greatly admire from the writers.
This issue also provides us with a little bit of a twist. So far, this story has been about capturing Rory Landell so that he can face off against Manifest Destiny for the official title of champion. However, this is where this issue throws us a curve ball. There is another rival faction vying for the title and they are dedicated to stopping Landell, or any other human, from taking the title. It’s this little twist that really gives the story more angles to build on in future issues. It also provides the reader (and story) with a little more drama. Another potential bad guy to look out for.
I have to give a massive nod to the returning creative team Dan Schkade (pencils), David Hahn (ink), Marissa Louise (colours), and A Larger World Studios (lettering). The art and color in each panel pops of the page, and it is highly reminiscent of vibrant and fun nature of the 80’s. The real winner here is that the writers have managed to capture this crazy world dreamed up by the writers, and if you were a fan of professional wrestling when you were growing up then you would believe that you had been transported back to that era.
With this third issue the invasion is well underway on a global scale, and the creative team are giving this platform to really amp up the action, and they don’t disappoint. At some point we see a meeting of world leaders delve into televised chaos, as each leader argues whose professional wrestler should have the honor of defending earth. Hahn and Louise flesh out this scene and give these cartoon like characters a bit of depth, all the while sticking with the overall visual tone. The tone is reinforced by A Larger World Studios, as they provide this scene with visual sound effects. It’s solid, it’s colorful, and it’s absolutely bonkers!
This book continues to be the writers love letter to the insane world of professional wrestling in all its ludicrous glory. With the third issue we are now beginning to add in a bit more character depth and twists that are really bringing the story together. All that combined with colorful characters and a fun story that you can really immerse yourself in, brings together a good time read. And I would class that as a solid win!