"Wrestlers in Space #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Nathanael Hopkins-Smith
Illustrated by Francesco “Prenzy” Chiappara and Sarah Harkey
Colored by Simon A. Wright
2015, 44 Pages
It's safe to say that wrestling would be a million times more interesting if it was in space, right? I'd pay good money to see the Undertaker deliver a tombstone piledriver to an alien. This was what first came to mind when I heard about Wrestlers in Space, the comic billed as a sci-fi / comedy adventure about some Luchadores lost in space trying to find their way home. I was pulled in on the premise, however the first issue works to set the background of one of the main characters. It's heavy on the history and light on the outer space.
That's not to say the book isn't enjoyable. Writer Nathanael Hopkins-Smith expertly plots the origin of the Matador as he fights bulls and steals hearts in Mexico. His skills in both are superb, but when he betrays the wrong woman, he makes a mistake he will soon regret. That's when the book really starts to get going and it just so happens that that is also when it ends. We haven't met half of the Luchadores, nor do they get to space.
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Now, this is the first issue, so the creative team is setting the groundwork. I can forgive that to an extent. However, when the book is called Wrestlers in Space and we barely get wrestlers, let alone space, it's a little disappointing. Fortunately, this introduction is very well put together and can pull you in quickly.
Much of this has to do with Francesco “Prenzy” Chiappara's artwork. It reminds me a bit of Rob Guillory's work on Chew, with a fun style that never lets up on the action. The bull fighting scenes are brilliantly choreographed. Regardless of what you may think of the treatment of these animals, you can't deny how beautiful these pages are. Chiappara shows this as a dance with the Matador definitely leading. Simon A. Wright's colors pop here, especially with the blood. That flies off the page in a vibrant red.
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A bit later on, there's a monstrous transformation that's put together with a number of smaller panels showing specific areas such as the hands, feet, and jaw. Chiappara gives you glimpses of these areas before you turn the page to reveal the full shot of the monster in all its glory. If this is how he draws a wolfman, I can't wait to see what he does with the aliens.
This issue also includes a six-page short, also written by Hopkins-Smith, featuring some genuine aliens. Sarah Harkey illustrates this piece in a fun, cartoony style reminiscent of Ren & Stimpy. I would not be surprised if Powdered Toast Man was one of the opponents the wrestlers came up against. This short sheds a bit more light on the sci-fi angle and perhaps how the Luchadores get into space. This is unfortunate as it's the backup story, not the main one.
Wrestlers in Space has an intriguing premise that's bound to draw in any sci-fi or wrestling fans. While we don't get the full on space adventure just yet, the groundwork is laid for what looks to be a grand, comedic adventure with some gorgeous artwork.