COMIC: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia [Issue 1 and 2]

The Bout to Knock The Other Guy Out
I have been a wrestling fan since the day, and minute I became a big brother.  I cheered when Bret Hart won his first WWF Heavyweight Title.  I cried when his brother Owen fell from the rafters to his death, and I was left shocked when I heard of how Chris Benoit had taken the lives of, first, his family, then himself.  For every wondrous moment professional wrestling has afforded us, it has delivered us something terrible – the biggest (even bigger than the Montreal screw-job) being Vince McMahon’s branding (and cheap admission) of the sport as “sports entertainment” in a way of getting out of paying taxes.
"It holds my trousers up AND I look good!"
That leads us smoothly into the action-packed, grapple-riddled, rear-naked choke-hold filled limited run comic book series from writing duo Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin; Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia.  When the AWF’s favourite heel, Rock ‘n’ Roll Rory Landell discovers his title push has been altered in order to appease the family market he has a uniquely ego-centric response.  Proclaiming himself Galactic Champion, and denouncing the AWF World Title as old hat, Rory finds himself on the outs with the biggest organisation that will have him.  As he bounces from small brand to small brand in an effort to make a living you might think, as an audience, we are in for a tale of hardship ala Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler or Image Comics’ Ringside, but you’d be dead wrong.  News of Rory’s self-proclaimed title has reached the deepest regions of space, and on Planet Wrestletopia the “true” Galactic Champion is about to call his number one contender out!
Makes the Nasty Boys look like the Backstreet Boys
There is so much to love about Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia.  From a writing perspective Ed and Matt do, literally, everything right.  They have married the critical elements of the high-concept Sci-Fi genre with a delicate touch that brilliantly outlines the behind the scenes world of wrestling.  From the aches and pains to the politics of the Bookers; IFPW delivers a remarkably honest portrayal of life on the road “mid-career”, and serves as a fantastic companion book to that of Joe Keatinge ‘End of the Line Opus’.  Dan Schkade’s art illustrates (pun intended, not sorry) beautifully the hard-edged, macho realm of the sport beautifully.  His detailing on both Rory and his manager Don is excellent, but it is the combination of art and words that truly takes what should only be a superficial joyride to the next level.  There are some truly beautiful moments in among the mad-capped colour-clad cornucopia.  The use of a Hawaiian native to play a Japanese stereotype is a reminder of some of the valid criticisms thrown at wrestling, and in particular the pre-family-friendly McMahon/Attitude era.  IFPW handles these moments with the seasoned reassurance of a three-decade veteran.
"John Cena's attempting complicated mic work... runnnnnn!"
Where issue 1 is the entrance music and pyrotechnics, issue 2 plays out as the in-ring face-to-face and trash talk.  For all the honest love and beautifully brilliant writing, the book has not lost track of the fact that it is, first and foremost, fun!  Littered in among the German Suplexes and planetary engulfing steel cages is an unbridled, giddy excitement that I have not felt since I locked in my first sharpshooter and sat back.  Though you will get the most out of Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia if you’ve known the joy of backyard wrestling, and smashing younger siblings on to surfaces not appropriate for impact, it is a book filled with wit, passion, and some incredibly brilliant set pieces.

Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia is available from Suspicious Behaviour Productions, in paperback and digitally from Comixology.


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