By Josh Hicks. Published by Graphic Universe.
A review copy was provided by NetGalley.
Pro wrestling and comic books?! This book sounds like something that was specifically made for me. Glorious Wrestling Alliance tells the story of a turning point for the company. Champion Great Carp, who has a fish for a head, is having a mental crisis and does not know if he wants to continue to wrestle. Miranda Fury is tired of waiting for women to have a spotlight so she dons a mask and wrestles the men as Hyper Mask. Gravy Train, who has a gravy boat for a body, wants a gimmick change so he can be taken seriously. Death Machine wants his poetry to be taken seriously. The promoter is losing his grip. Everyone is in the middle of a turning point in their lives and it’s all happening at the same time on the road to Ultrabrawl XXVI!
I expected this book to be like the classic M.U.S.C.L.E. toys and anime – ridiculous wrestling characters doing ridiculous things. I mean there’s fish and gravy here, which is probably the only time those two things go together. Instead, it is an introspective look at life and purpose and trying to find your true self even if it means a complete reinvention.
The Great Carp is a successful champion and also a merchandising machine but despite the acclaim and the money he’s not happy. Miranda Fury, Gravy Train, and Death Machine are all trying to break free of assumptions based on their appearances. Just because they look like a woman, a murderer, or a meat sauce does not mean that is all that they could be. Through non-stop humorous situations all four of the main cast members risk everything to forge their own path.
While having a deep message the comic is also a hilarious love letter to pro wrestling. A giant carp head champion isn’t the most ridiculous idea in wrestling. Maybe not even the most ridiculous idea this week. Hicks has a real love for wrestling that comes through this fantasy cast. Wrestling fans have seen characters over pushed to burn out, women get slighted, assumptions based on body type, and promoters who don’t know what they’re doing. As fans we scream for change and Hicks created his own narrative. Instead of complaining over what wrestling isn’t doing he did it himself through this series. A series that I enjoyed more than I enjoyed the wrestling I watched last night (I’m writing this on a Tuesday).
Very recommended for any who overlap as comics and wrestling fans. Also a great book for teen readers!