Publisher: Lion Forge Comics
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artwork: Eddie Nunez and Fabiano Neves
Release Date: 1st June, 2016
My familiarity with pro wrestling is not exactly what you would call extensive, and up until being handed this book, I was pretty much ignorant of the fact that there’s a professional American luchadore scene nestled in the bosom of Great Mother Wrestling. For those of you not in the know – and I’m only Wikipedia-knowledgable on the matter – Chavo Guerrero is part of said scene, and a member of what seems to be a long-running wrestling dynasty that’s been etching itself into the history books since 1937. Which, if nothing else, is pretty bloody impressive when you think about it, and so why not attempt to make their legend a super-heroic one?
That’s exactly what this book sets out to do, and at the upfront, it’s a fun, if hardly first-of-its-kind idea for a story. The art is bright and colourful, and exceptionally well rendered, bringing to mind the likes of Tradd Moore and Humberto Ramos in its hyper-flexible, stylised character designs. It can on occasion feel a little more characature-ish than is comfortable, but on the surface, it’s a great-looking issue with some pretty bold, dynamic action sequences.
The issue does, however, does have something of a ping-pong narrative – it tries to cover a whole bunch of character building bases, along with creating the beginnings of an explanation as to quite how a luchadore is going to become an actual superhero, and ends up feeling spread a little too thin. Not whole lot happens that actually drives the narrative forward in the issue, with both elements feeling a diluted by each other, and as such, it lacks that je ne sais quoi of a great comic story, that draws you in and keeps you there. It’s not helped by dialogue that, whilst by no means terrible, doesn’t really give any of the players aside from Chavo himself a unique voice, making it hard to truly link what’s being said in them word balloons up with the action that’s happening in the art.
I can only think that it’d’ve been a heck of a lot more interesting if the writers had really used the history of the Guerrero dynasty as a building block of the story – but any mention of the history and legacy of the family is only faintly alluded to in a single line of dialogue. It may well be that subsequent issues incorporate this – but it would’ve been great if it was front and centre, so us wrestling noobs could’ve learned a thing or two about the history of a venerable sport.
Overall, whilst it’s certainly not a bad read by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just not exactly clear to me who this is for. It’s building a superhero mythos around a luchadore, but it’s neither a particularly compelling wrestling story (though I’ll be the first to admit that that it’s dubious whether or not I’d know one if it frog splashed me), nor a particularly intriguing superhero origin. My only real point of reference – and comparisons can be drawn, given they’re both about retiring wrestlers – is Keatinge’s Ringside, and in terms of story intrigue, Chavo Guerrero doesn’t do particularly well in the ring against it. But it’s light and breezy, and the art is gorgeously put together, which does pull its by-the-numbers narrative up off the mat.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24