“You have no idea, do you, Rory? You’re a headliner again” – Linda, Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #4 Road Games
Writers: Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin
Art and Cover: Kendall Goode
Colorist – Jason Lewis
Letterer – Sal Cipriano
Editor – Brendan Wright
Publisher – Starburns industries press
One of my favourite comic book series, Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia, recently came out with their latest release, ‘Road Games’. If you have been following my reviews then you will know that I have been with this delightful mini-series since it’s first issue, and once again, it has been an honor to be included in the press list for their latest release. So far this series has been an absolute blast, mixing the old school glory days of the wrestling era with a little bit of intergalactic sci-fi weirdness. Each issue has been an absolute delight and I am intrigued to see how issue #4 fares in the series.
At the end of the last issue we were made aware of the conspiracy to prevent our hero, Rory Landell, from his meeting with Manifest Destiny. Road Games picks up exactly where we left off as Rory, Don and Machito dust themselves off from the wreck and go searching for a new car, and a few drinks, to continue their journey. This issue couldn’t have been more aptly titled as Rory and his crew officially hit the road, picking up some old friends and new tag team members, all the while being chased and ambushed by intergalactic space warriors who are hell bent on making sure that Rory doesn’t meet the nefarious Manifest Destiny, who I am sad to say does not feature in this issue. What I really enjoyed about this issue, is throughout their cross country adventure, we are beginning to pick up much more sobering glimpses of Rory’s past and who he really is underneath his tough exterior. We are also introduced to some key old friends of Rory and his manager, Don.
First of, the cover for this months issue is done beautifully by Marissa Louise. Designed to resemble an old-fashioned wrestling poster that features some of the key players in the upcoming intergalactic war, with Rory and Manifest Destiny being billed as the top 2 players. It’s a lovely tribute to the bygone era of the professional wrestling era and it really fits with the overall aesthetic of the story. While each cover that we have seen so far have been beautiful and really eye-catching, this issues might just be my favourite.
On to the story, the plot is really beginning to take shape now. Each issue has been filled with over-the-top action sequences that play out beautifully on the pages, and this issue is no different, as you are flung right into the action. Within the first few pages we are treated to an impressive fight at an abandoned water-park, which also features a two-page spread that continues down a water-slide. It’s a wonderfully bonkers sequence and it also highlights the little bit of camaraderie between our crew.
One thing that I have always commented on is that the writers love for the professional wrestling era shines through. This is further cemented by each passing issue, and while that is an absolutely great thing, what really draws me in as a reader, is the undertones of humanity that is beginning to develop. While it’s all fun and games to have slapstick comedy and over-the-top action sequences (there is definitely plenty of that available as well!), adding glimpses of Rory’s past gives us an idea of who he really is as a person, and not just as Rory “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Landell. I noted in my review of the first issue that I was unsure of Rory as a leading character, as he lacked depth and it was very difficult to empathize with a character who drove his own career (and others) into the ground. Now, we are starting to get a little bit of further character development. There is a great sequence between him and Linda, one of our new characters, that gives our protagonist, dare I say it, a heart. This slow but gradual development of Rory as a character is a true testament to the writers talent and craft, and I have no doubt that as his journey continues he will become the hero that the story needs him to be.
Great writing deserves great art-work, and Road Games certainly delivers on that front. Featuring a group of new artists to work with each panel is eye-catching and pops of the page. Goode, Lewis and Cipriano continue the trend of exaggerated and in your face colours that adorn each page; and the style matches the tone of the of the story perfectly. The colours are bold, over-the-top and striking – just like the characters on the page.
Also, keep an eye out for the bonus content and ‘ads’ on the back page. These add a little bit more charm to the story and are equally as entertaining as the whole issue itself!
All things considered, issue #4 offers further development in this off-beat intergalactic adventure. Reflecting on the story as a whole, I think that this may be my favourite issue in the series so far, as it excels in delivering a great story, with great characters and beautiful artwork. Complete with character development and the introduction of new characters, Wrestletopia is beginning to really take shape as it leads to the inevitable galactic massacre that is on the horizon. I for one am continuing to enjoy this ride and can’t wait to see what the next issue holds!
Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia is published by Starburns Industries Press, and you can find the whole series on Comixology.