Writers: Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin
Artist: Kendall Goode
Colorist: Jio Butler
Letterer: Sal Cirpriano
Editor: Brendan Wright
Publisher: Suspicious Behavior Productions/ Starburns Industries Press.
At the end of last year, Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia released their fifth issue in their wrestling mini-series. Titled, ‘Show Me State of Mind’, this is the penultimate issue in Matt Entin and Ed Kuehnel’s wacky universe, and forgive me if I sound like a broken record by this point, but once again the whole team are on fire with another stellar installment.
Picking right up from the previous issues cliffhanger, our main star of the show Rory has been kidnapped by Dick Drasin, who is hell-bent on making sure that Rory misses his date with the nefarious Manifest Destiny. Held within a truck that is hurtling towards an explosive end, he tries to con Rory by offering him an easy choice; The title of championship if he misses the final ‘galact-o-massacre’. He even goes as far as to leave a championship belt as bait for Rory to take. Despite him literally holding everything that he had once ever wanted in the palm of his hand, Rory dismisses this choice and, for once, decides to do the right thing.
Like many penultimate outings this issue revolves around our gang of wrestling misfits as they begin the steps to the final showdown against Manifest Destiny. There is also a breakdown in the relationship between Drasin and the Wrestletopians as the alien race decide to take matters into their own violent hands, which results in an issue that is jam-packed with action. From a bar fight to a mass brawl on a moving train, the pace is certainly picking up. This synopsis is simplifying the plot a little, but this certainly feels like the final steps are in motion and I am intrigued to see how this will all culminate in the final issue.
These final steps are also highlighted in the development we have begun to see in the character of Rory. Not only does he learn to reject the offer of a quick pay day to fame, but he also begins to truly face himself and his demons. There is a hilarious scene in the middle of the issue that revolves around his meeting with Jay Warcloud, and while this feels like a detour from the fast pace of the earlier pages, it also provides a pivotal moment for Rory to begin his ‘inner journey’.
There are also his interactions with Linda that show how he is trying to make amends for his previous wrong-doings, and these subtle moments continue to provide Rory with a bit more depth. In many ways, Wrestletopia has never just been about building up to Rory’s showdown with Manifest Destiny, but about Rory learning to face up to himself and what he has become over the years, and each issue in the series has provided us with certain sobering moments that give us glances of who he really is and who he might become. In terms of character development, this might be their best issue yet, and I have to give major kudos once again to Matt and Ed, as Rory could have easily stayed a one-dimensional stereotype; Instead, we have seen him undergo a redemption arc of sorts, and it has been an exceptionally fun ride to follow and it will be interesting to see how his character arc plays out in the final issue.
Like all the times before, the incredible writing is matched with absolutely stellar artwork. I have to give major props to the creative art team of Kendall Goode (Art), Jio Butler (Colour art), and Sal Cipriano (Lettering), as they continue to flesh out this surreal world that literally pops off each page. From over-exaggerated character designs, to a hallucinogenic mind-trip, the art and colors are fun, vibrant, and really draw you into this surreal universe.
Like every issue in the series thus far, ‘Show Me State of Mind’ has proven to be another hit in the Wrestletopia series. With the final issue on the way, the pace has certainly picked up, as our characters begin their final steps towards the final galactic throw down. One thing I want to make absolutely clear; While the writers love for the professional wrestling era has always shone through, this is a story that can stand solidly on its own and, for a niche comic, that is an absolute achievement. For someone like me, who knows the bare minimum of that era, IFPW still provides a fun adventure into a unique world, and it is a series that deserves to be read by a much wider audience. The only down-side in all of this, is that next issue will be the sixth and final issue in what has steadily become one of my favourite comic book series in a while.