Wrassle Castle Round One: Learning the Ropes Graphic Novel Review

Written by Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin. Illustrated by Galaad. Lettered by Jeff Powell. Designed by Bones Leopard. Edited by Rebecca Taylor. Published by WonderBound.

Medieval times, wrestling themed, and a kids friendly comic book? Of course I’m there. From the moment I heard about Wrassle Castle in a Previews catalog I knew it would be a future read. This is going to be a gushing positive review but I’ll put it out there. I did not know that this book is the first of a three book series and I’m upset I have to wait for the entire story. 

Lydia Riverthane lives in the kingdom of Grimslade, and dreams of being the greatest wrassler. Her brother is currently the best in the land, and their parents are pushing Lydia into the political circle instead of the squared circle. Lydia has been training in private for years and has developed her own style of wrestling. Her friends keep her secret, because they all have dreams and wants of their own that are just out of reach. One day her brother is accused of conspiracy against the kingdom and will be put to death. Lydia enters the end of the year wrestling tournament, in the hopes that by winning she can also negotiate her brother’s freedom. 

First of all, this isn’t a straight up wrestling book for those that grew up with WWE. This isn’t about promos and match psychology or booking committees. This is a world in which wrestling is seen as the martial art of the land. There are warriors and grifters and soldiers and of course Lydia who defend themselves and their land, and maybe have some fun too, through wrestling. Lydia has all of the potential in the world and a few moves that she may do better than anyone else. However she is untrained, and this is raw potential. It doesn’t matter if she has the best finisher in the land if her opponents out wrestle her before she even gets a chance to execute the move. She’s headstrong, she’s driven, but she needs a bit of focus. Perhaps her brother’s predicament can give her a direction other than her own whimsy. 

I don’t know about any of you, but I hate starting a new comic or watching a new wrestling promotion and everyone looks the same. How am I going to know who to cheer and who to boo when I can’t tell the characters apart? Thankfully Galaad keeps everyone distinctive and fun from their debuts all the way through the cliffhanger ending. Hopefully the entire team is on this book for all three volumes. This art would look great animated and pushed towards those of us kids and adults who loved the new Netflix version of She-Ra. A powerful female protagonist, the stereotypical alpha male is the one in trouble, a kingdom under attack, and mysteries abound. Honestly, all of this is a more compelling wrestling story than much of what is put out weekly from actual wrestling companies. 

This comic was so much fun and I’m already including the next two books in my wish list. I look forward to the feud continuing and hopefully a new champion at the finale. 

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