“The Gimmick” poses an important question: what would happen if a pro wrestler actually has superpowers and one night, in a match, got so pissed off at his opponent that he accidentally punched the brain out of him? That is what happens to Shane Bryant on the opening of “The Gimmick”, a new pro wrestling comic by writer Joanne Starer and artist Elena Gogou released by Ahoy Comics.
This comic book is a dark comedy based on the pro wrestling world, and something cool about it is that the pro wrestling world is presented just as it is in real life: it is not a universe where wrestling is real, but one which is exactly as this one is, with the only fantasy element being that one of the performers has superpowers that he holds back. As said in the first paragraph, in a match things got out of hand since Shane Bryant’s opponent was being a racist, which made him lose control of his powers. Now Shane Bryant is being chased by the FBI, an ex-girlfriend with his baby who has superpowers too, his mother, and the daughter of the man he killed. Meanwhile, he is living in Mexico, hiding and wrestling under a mask in Tijuana alongside a fellow pro wrestling friend.
This story has the perfect artwork to go alongside its frenetic pace. The violence, background, and characters are all beautiful, and it has some of the smoothest wrestling sequences I have seen in a comic book, with each panel and move moving the story along. I liked how it moved in the pro wrestling panels, from the entrances of the wrestlers to the action. Character designs are all cool and familiar to those fans of pro wrestling and films.
What can’t be failed to mention is that the story is also very funny.
It is a dark comedy that gets the weirdness and entertainment factor of the pro wrestling world and everything around it. The story goes to a lot of places in a few pages, but it is never distracting, it is not overbearing or complicated. One of my favorite parts is when the wrestling promotion decides to turn the story of the dead man into a storyline, and they do it by having the man who was his tag partner hide in the coffin of what is supposed to be the dead wrestler’s wake to attack an opponent.
It is funny, and it is something very pro wrestling and something that I wouldn’t bat an eye at if it happened in real life.
As a pro wrestling fan, you will see that the writer knows a lot about the world of pro wrestling, and you are right. The scene and specificities about the wrestling works since the writer, Joanne Starer, has lived it. She has been part of the pro wrestling world as a promoter for Kiryoku Pro in Pennsylvania and has done some of everything in this weird sport. This background is shown by how the characters talk, how the world works, and their personalities. Another example of the knowledge of this world is that one of the characters is a second-generation wrestler that is not seen as equal to his father due to his body and pro wrestling name, and is judged as being irresponsible to his legacy by some of the other characters. That is something that can be understood as a pro wrestling fan, and is an example of the type of level of detail you find here.
As a first issue it works perfectly. It introduces a lot of characters without being overbearing, the dialogue is funny and clever, and the ending leaves you wanting more. There are a lot of threads and characters that I’m curious to see how they develop.
I had so much fun that I needed another “The Gimmick” fix immediately, and I can’t wait for more issues. You should check it out even if you have never entered the comic book world. This is a good one to start with.