Super Pro KO Volume3: Gold For Glory
Writer: Jarrett Williams
Toner: Matthew Ruzzane
Cover Colors: Dan Jackson
Review by Gregory Brothers
Looking back, the audience for comics and wrestling have often crossed paths. Back in the 1980s, Marvel gave permission for the World Wrestling Federation and Terry Bollea to use the name the Hulk, and thus Hulk Hogan was born. Since then the WWE once had their own comic book series and actors who are known for playing comic book heroes in movies and shows have shown up at various wresting promotions. Maybe it’s the bright colors and the over the top nature of both, or maybe it’s just the classic good versus evil; either way it’s natural for a genre of original wrestling themed comics to make their ways into the hands of readers throughout the world. Enter Jarrett Williams and his pro wrestling comic series Super Pro K.O. that Williams started writing back in 2008.
Super Pro K.O. Volume 3: Gold for Glory follows the wrestlers and staff of the S.P.K.O as they navigate their way through trials and tribulations both in the ring and backstage. Being the third book in the series, there is a nice ‘what happened last time’ early on to help remind readers what the state of the S.P.K.O. is. We start with an event outside of the arena as popular wrestler Tomahawk Slamson, attending a screening of his new movie, prepares for his big screen debut. To add to the drama of the event, the rest of the S.P.K.O. roster has also been invited to the premiere, and when professional jealousy and boredom sneak in, the night does not end the way the Slamson would have liked. We jump forward to the title pages that also serve as to tell the reader who the main roster of wrestlers in this particular issue is.
After the intro we get to see how some of the wrestlers start to prepare for their big night. We peek in on Champion King Crown JR having a meal with a female fan, and new comer Joe Somiano calling home to make sure his family will be tuning in. After the backstage set up, we are taken to the first match of the undercard of Sike versus Glam 2. Moves in the matches are pointed out with big bold words such as the Brutal Hip Rub or the Knuckle Punch, and as the wrestlers reach certain levels of crowd support they can become re-energized by the fans, giving the feeling of a video game to the reader.
In between both the first and second match, and then second and third match, the focus jumps to backstage, where we learn more about the wrestlers’ backgrounds and how they prepare for their matches. Match two features the young Joe Somiano vs Veteran Romeo Colossus, while the final match features a grudge match for the title between Champion King Crown Jr vs Bad Bad Butch O’Rowdy. Both of the matches feature the quick cuts from panel to panel between the moves in the ring, the announcers, and the crowd reactions. As the issue is wrapped up we have a wrestler make a surprise return to move the storyline forward and set up the main event for the next episode of S.P.K.O.
The art in Super Pro K.O. Volume 3: Gold for Glory has a very manga inspired feel. Each panel is very heavy on details of what is going on with lots to take in and process in order to understand what is going on. Actions and reactions of the characters are big and bold, with close up facial expressions or actions words that sometimes take up more of a panel than the character in them. Being a wrestling comic, the large and crowded panels fit. They give you the feeling that everything that is happening is larger than life, in addition to the idea that several things are all happening simultaneously. Several times, there are larger splash pages that give you an overall feel of what the action is with several smaller panels overlaid to give you a peek as to some of those details within. Williams does a good job of using arrows and movements within the panels to draw the readers’ attention to where the action is while also providing details throughout that enhance the story telling.
Buy it. If you are a fan of wrestling or of manga, I think that this book will be perfect for you. The story telling throughout the book is excellent to where I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what the outcome of each match would be. It has the feeling that you are actually watching a television show and not reading a comic. The backstage and everyday life scenes give you a better idea of what the drive is for each member of the roster and what issues they have faced to make them what they are. The only caveat I would add is that with the number of splash pages that take up two pages, I feel that this book is better read as a physical comic rather than in the digital format as it will make it easier to follow some of the action.