What I know about wrestling you can write on the back of an envelope. A very small envelope. But I know what I like and that’s fun superhero comics. And this is very much a fun superhero comic as Wally West finds himself caught in the middle as an intergalactic wrestling tournament drops in on Central City.
Literally. The gentlemen with the flying fists are members of the Wrestling Across the Multiverse federation. Wally wants them out of his city, fearing lives may be lost as buildings come down around them, but competitor Omega Bam Man explains that things aren’t as bad as they look. Areas that become impromptu arenas are automatically cleared, and droids come in afterwards to repair all damage. As commercials play across the multiverse, ‘OBM’ explains all.
His Green Lantern pal Hal might not be impressed, but soon Wally is part of the newest super-tag team around. He even gets his own fighting’ name.
Well, he was happy enough to be called that back in his Teen Titans days!
There’s an awful lot of action in this issue, but it really is a breather after the last multi-part storyline, a bright and breezy done-in-one. Writer Jeremy Adams gives Wally a way to blow off some steam when he’s feeling a tad emotionally tired, and OBM – the character find of the week, at least – proves surprisingly empathetic. There are cameos by well-known and more obscure types from DC and Wildstorm, outrageous wrestling moves and a cute robot referee.
Adams provides top value in the scripting department – this is one of the wordier books around, but it’s great for world-building, and the dialogue flows nicely. The moments of humour work, and we get to hear about a virtual home assistant thingie that’s even more sinister than Alexa.
I’m with Wally.
The art by penciller Fernando Pasarin and inker Matt Ryan is exemplary, with clear storytelling, strong figurework, and surprising choices that work, such as the way we see an annoyed Commander Powtower confront Wally.
All the wrestlers are well designed, especially Western throwback Powtower, I hope we see him again. I’m also very impressed with a close-up which shows that under the right/wrong circumstances even handsome, heroic Wally can look a bit double chinny. And as usual when Pasarin does an issue, wife Linda and kids Irey and Jay look blooming brilliant. The faces, the body language… it’s stellar.
Jeremy Cox’s bright colours and Rob Leigh’s lettering add to the success of the issue – I especially like Leigh’s wee logo for OBM, which incorporates the Greek Omega letterform, while little things like the gorgeous sky on the final page show how much Cox cares. And Taurin Clarke’s witty cover captures the superbly silly vibe of this story.
Next issue looks set to be more serious fare as shady Iron Heights Governor Wolfe ramps up his mayoral campaign. For now, though, here’s a well-crafted piece of fantastical fluff to make you smile throughout.