Review: Ringside #1

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Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Art: Nick Barber
Colours: Simon Gough
Lettering: Ariana Maher

A brand new series set in the world of pro wrestling: I had to review it. Let’s see how it is, then.

The story opens in Japan, where two older men are watching younger pro wrestlers training. One of them, a Caucasian whose name we don’t know yet (it’s Dan, we’ll find out later; Dan Knossos) is trying to explain to his friend Keita that his trip back to the USA has nothing to do with “the business”, but the other doesn’t seem to believe him. His parting gift to Dan is an old comic book about a pro wrestler, Minotaur: a fantasy story featuring the character Dan used to portray in the ring. But this thoughtful gift isn’t welcomed with any enthusiasm, and will end up in a bin at the airport.

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Meanwhile, in the headquarters of CMW, a big promotion in the States, a member of the creative team – the people who invent characters for the pro wrestlers to interpret and devise the storylines they will be involved in – seems quite upset after finding out that a certain storyline has been aborted. Apparently, though, this kind of order “from up top” is pretty common in the company.

In this first issue at least, the actual world of pro wrestling is mostly a background to the gritty events in Ringside, a series that seems to be going to be focused mostly on Dan, the old, washed-up former hero with some major personal issues.

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In Dan, Joe Keatinge has created a character that has already become strong and believable in the few pages of this first issue of Ringside, with other well-defined individuals in the supporting cast.

Admittedly, Nick Barber’s art isn’t my favourite – but his characters are still quite clearly defined and characterised, enough to be clearly distinguishable. The work of colourist Simon Gough however, is quite impressive, giving a clear idea of the setting of each scene (neon lights, a dark alley, a dusty shed etc).

All in all, Ringside seems to be shaping up to be a pretty good series. Obviously it’s too early to have a definite opinion – but I’d advise to keep reading.

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