Christopher Franey

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #5 Review: Follow The Turkeys And Don’t Trust The Egg Salad

A Review By Christopher Franey

We are back for the penultimate chapter of Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia and this issue takes a deep dive into the ego of “Rock N Roll” Rory; so clear the couch and be glad you’re not on the clock for this look inside.  Last issue left us with a cliff hanger of Rory and his group all being captured somehow and things looking bleak.  This issue starts with Dick Drasin making an offer to the captured Rory, but luckily Rory says no.  This is nice because it isn’t as clear cut…maybe Rory had a change of heart or maybe he is backing away like he always does, great moments of a flawed hero.  Plus it really shows that Dick Drasin does live up to his first name quite nicely. 

Interior art by Kendall Goode

The scene shifts from Rory and goes back to the strip club and we see that most of the group is being put in sleeper holds, but luckily the Wrestletopians forgot about Linda and does she save the day.  Then like a domino effect one by one they get free and manage their escape.  Again Kendall Goode delivers on the action; to be perfectly honest this issue really brings the action as we are treated to quite a few matches both physical and beyond.  We also see that Rory manages to escape his trucker trap, so now all the heroes are free but they are not together. 

Interior art by Kendall Goode

When we go on Rory’s journey I like how at first there are some random turkeys but they are not just random; they wind up leading us to Jay Warcloud, who has been mentioned a lot in this series so he is a much welcomed character in this motley crew.  The comedy really kicks into overdrive as Rory starts eating Warcloud’s food and intakes a lot of peyote.  I have to laugh at the page where Rory begins his “trip” as those are some massive pupils and the leftover food on his chin paint Rory in quite a light. 

Interior art by Kendall Goode

Once we are inside Rory’s trip is it quite the mind screw as Rory is tossed into a five way smack down for the gold in EGOMANIA.  I love the use of the other wrestlers being other forms of Rory; we are treated to “Mr. Number One,” “Testosterone Poisoning,” “Liquid Courage,” and the most heart breaking of all, “The Masked Menace.”  I really love how Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin use the Egomania as a device for Rory to face himself; what he does, his piss poor actions, and his past.  Brilliant story device that goes deep in character yet also delivers on the comedy by being framed in a wrestling match.  That moment when Rory takes on the Masked Menace and discovers who he is will hit you…in a good way. 

This issue did a great job to set the stage by reuniting the group, having Rory face himself and getting himself together as best as he can, and the group is on the way but they wind up in quite the encounter with the Wrestletopians and this will have a major cliffhanger that will leaving you wondering about Don’s fate; which is a bummer because he and Rory just made nice together.  Very much looking forward to that concluding issue from this creative crew. 

Interior art by Kendall Goode

Make sure to check out this miniseries as it is a fun independent comic read with great love for wrestling, comic books, and video games as this issue showed; this mini can be found digitally on Comixology.  This mini-series was created written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions and can find their social medias here with these links:  Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.  You can find this issues artist, Kendall Goode, on twitter here.  Geek out!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #4: “As close as they’re gonna get.”

A Review From Christopher Franey

Here we are at part 4 of Invasion and wow is there some movement with Rory and his gang trying to get to St. Paul and the Wrestletopians getting in the way.  With this new issue there is a new artist, Kendall Goode, and he does a great job of keeping the style and tone of the book consistent with the previous issues.  Which I highly appreciate as with comics sometimes creative teams change and it can be very drastic to the story; character voice switches or the art can be inconsistent with what was established, please don’t confuse that with all styles have to match.  The humor and action is much alive in this issue as we march on to the final showdown, so let us take a look at the issue.

interior art by Kendall Goode

To start I enjoyed the cover and what a great way to help people keep a track of previous characters, new characters, and also some of the Wrestletopians; plus in that video game style that was a great reminder to the Nintendo 64 wrestling games of yesteryear.  The theme also works with the story inside as well, which is a great bonus.  We pick up with Rory, Don, and Macho after the car accident of last issue and luckily they are all fine and start heading into the closest place of business which happens to be a water park called, Duke City Sunsplash.  Kendall does a great job with the action scenes and takes full advantage of the location to craft some great and funny scenarios; plus with Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin, the writers, they create some funny dialogue with the pool water jokes. 

interior art by Kendall Goode

Luckily at this water park this leads to an encounter with “Fatback” Billy Mangrum, wrestling team Three-D, and Linda.  Linda looks very different from last we met here and this helps to build a mystery on what happened to her these last 15 years; which I hope we get more of outside of her conversation/argument with Rory.  One of the best moments is the “secret origin” of Three-D; which was a three man team working for Maximum Brutality Wrestling and consisted of Daryl, Derek, and Dennis and as Derek tells us, “but, man…just because you got chemistry in the ring…doesn’t mean you got chemistry outside it, ya know?”  I really appreciate the gag they crafted and also how they played it in a series of threes all to a background of Dennis building himself up, hilarious moment. 

interior art by Kendall Goode

We are treated to a pay-per-view commercial of the upcoming “Galact-O-Massacre” that will settle who is the Galactic Champ and also showcases how much of a heel Dick Drasin is. Rory and his crew manage to keep moving along but their pit stop doesn’t end well with Daryl and Derek running into the Smoking Guns club which looks to be quite adult.  I love the layout of this as the club sign is very feminine yet when the rest of the crew gets inside they are treated to the strippers they might not want, enjoyed the reaction panel.  The club scene works perfectly to get a moment alone with Rory and Linda which leads to another argument and Rory going off on his own and also putting the rest of the team at a relaxed manner which made it easy for them to be put into sleeper holds. 

interior art by Kendall Goode

The issue leaves us with a worried sense as Rory’s crew has been captured and things are not looking good for Rory and Linda.  Rory continues to distance himself which leads him into a trap as well, so now he is in the possession of Dick Drasin which might stop Rory from making it to the match or worse.  Overall another fun chapter in Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia and does excellent with humorous introductions and situations along with drama and suspense that leaves you wanting more.  Make sure to check out this miniseries as it is a fun independent comic read with great love for wrestling, comic books, and video games as this issue showed; this mini can be found digitally on Comixology.  This mini-series was created written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions and can find their social medias here with these links:  Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.  You can find this issues artist, Kendall Goode, on Twitter as well.  Geek out!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #3 – Two Peas In A Pot!

A Review From Christopher Franey

Alright sports fans we are back for round three of Wrestletopia and some more layers are peeled back and we discover that love isn’t lost.  The issue opens with the Wrestletopians busting into Dick Drasin’s office and destroying his pricey doors; something I enjoyed about this issue was how Dick kept mentioning the price on “fancy” things which I found to be a funny tick of his throughout.  Manifest Destiny and his crew come in to set things up and get “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Rory Landell for their showdown.  This was fun to see that Dick could hold his own and also has quite the tolerance since the Wrestletopians are very much into destruction of his office items.  Now both sides have come to an agreement for this intergalactic faceoff for the Galactic Belt and lucky for the world it will be Pay-Per-View too!

Invasion from Wrestletopia #3, interior art by Dan Schkade

In the end it will be a 70-30 split in revenue in favor for the Wrestletopians but at least Dick got merchandising and home media rights.  Then we are taking back to Rory’s situation in which he was captured by rogue wrestlers from space; still Wrestletopians I just wanted to try something different.  So they manage to take down Rory and are going through his stuff when we get to see “Mini Macho” take on the thugs and this is a great moment to show off Dan Schkade’s layouts as the wrestling action is very on point and features astonishing moves.  Luckily Don, Rory’s former manager and mentor, frees him and the three now have to get to St. Paul.

Invasion from Wrestletopia #3, interior art by Dan Schkade

Before the scene change we see Rory collect his personal things and he has a folded up poster of himself and Linda, aka “Spanish Rose.”  So it doesn’t look like she was forgotten which is great as I would love to see what happened to her after Rory left.  Next we head over to an emergency summit of world leaders and they come to a conclusion that only other wrestlers can stop the Wrestletopians.  This is so much fun as we get to see these nation based wrestlers be featured and defended by their representative and this is probably the most functional I’ve seen the U.N. be in order to help the world; you’ll enjoy their wrestle free for all.  I also really enjoyed the two reveals this issue, the first being the secret origin of “Mini Macho” which was just positively inspiring and well laid out on the page too.

Invasion from Wrestletopia #3, interior art by Dan Schkade

The second review was finding out who “you know who” was from issue two; Adrian Polaris, the speaker for Manifest Destiny, reveals himself and the others with the mark of the New Zodiac who wish to dethrone Manifest Destiny.  They figure if they can prevent Rory from making it to the match they can get their own ringer in to win, who would happen to be “Sunny” Jim Cooley, “the Peach Blossom Playboy.”  Remember when I mentioned that Dick has a strong tolerance?  Well it is proven as one of the wrestlers grabs him by the…you know, his namesake.  So Dick and the New Zodiac have formed an alliance…looks like we might be gearing up for a three way match. 

Invasion from Wrestletopia #3, interior art by Dan Schkade

Again I strongly recommend this series, it is such a fun comic and a great mood booster as it will have you laughing at the situations and how wild they get.  Inspiring moments help to keep you rooting for Rory and the action is just on point.  Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin have crafted a fantastic adventure with lots of layers that keep unraveling with each new issue, can’t wait for the next!  Also read the wrestler bios as the end of the issue, great humor and insights.  This mini-series was created and written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions, the production company they founded in order to waste money, find them on social media with links here: TwitterTumblrFacebook. Also find artist Dan Schkade on Twitter and Here

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #2 Review: The Challenger Has Shown Himself!

A Review From Christopher Franey
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2 cover

We are back for round two of ‘Wrestletopia’ by writers Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin along with artist Dan Schkade with colors by Marissa Louise.  This issue is going to open with a heck of a gut punch to the feelings; I’ve been reading comics for quite a while and every now and then you run across something so sad that it hits hard…the Death of Gwen Stacy was a sad moment, Batman getting his back broken was just so horrible to watch, and now I can say Rory Landell’s childhood was just some pure sadness.  That opener with his parents was a hard pill to swallow and it does build on why Rory went into wrestling and also serves as a “secret origin” to the shirt Rory wears too. 

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2 interior art

After the flashback/nightmare that Rory has, the scene is shifted to an observatory and we get to see what the local workers are seeing; just something that hits the imagination hard and fast…a steel cage…built around the world! It makes so much sense but it is just wild and crazy; I can’t wait for you to see that visual it is the best.  We are then taken to Don, Rory’s friend/manager/mentor, and he is having a fun time with his lover (don’t worry it is tasteful) when they start catching the news and we have our first public sign of the invasion as Manifest Destiny starts laying down the words pretty heavy and calling out Rory for the galaxy championship.  I really enjoyed as Manifest was going on with his smack talk that the other “Wrestletopians” were invading Earth at famous landmarks it was hilarious to see F.B.I. agents taking on wrestlers at the White House. 

In this issue we are treated to a new character, Mini Macho; it turns out he is also looking for Rory and it appears they have wrestled in the past.  If you also in this and last issue you find that Rory has knee problems and it seems that Don was able to fix that, but the two aren’t together right now.  We are treated to Rory taking on some of the “Wrestleopians” which looks to drive to a meeting for a future issue as Rory is taken down.  Make sure to read the extra material at the end of the issue as there are some clues in there. 

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2 interior art

Dan Schkade does a fantastic job on his layouts for the issue; he has a way with having his figures more in dynamic ways and it displays some great action scenes.  I have seen Dan’s art before in Will Eisner’s the Spirit Returns from Dynamite comics so Dan is an artists who can draw a hero who gets beat on but never quits, so this is perfect for the story of Rory.  Ed and Matt’s story is fascinating and with issue two they do a great job of peeling back layers; with Rory’s past and then the current situation with Manifest Destiny.  Mystery is also involved as some of the “Wrestleopians” mention taking Rory to someone else so that should be interesting to find out later.  These two writers also bring the humor along as the characters are great with their loud boisterous ways and the feelings creep in as well with the flashbacks to young Rory.  Get ready for a slam-down on your heart strings, brother!

So do yourself a favor and check out issue two as it keeps the flow going and is building to a galactic showdown that keeps your inner wrestling fan wanting more. This mini-series was created and written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions, the production company they founded in order to waste money. Social media is here: TwitterTumblrInstagramFacebook.

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #1 Review: Get Ready For Thrills And Spills, Brother!

A Review From Christopher Franey
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1 cover

Straight out of Starburns Industries Press comes an invasion of wrestlers that is just a fun dynamic comic to read.  While I was reading issue #1 I felt that same energy, excitement, and hyperbole of the WCW/WWF on Saturday mornings as a kid and it was a fantastic revisit to those days.  The story by Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin is a nice mix of nostalgia, romance, and hard knocks that puts “Rock N Roll” Rory Landell’s journey on our radar.  Rory starts off as the young up and comer who is going to be the champion; luckily he has a great woman in his corner to motivate and inspire him, but sadly to Rory that isn’t enough…those dreams of being the champion are all he sees.  Even the advice he gets from his manager, “Mr. Don Fong Wong”, isn’t enough to stop this head strong wrestler from pursuing the championship.  We are introduced to a character that is just tragic enough that you feel for him but you know he can’t be helped until he wants it; very nice opener for the inaugural issue. 

To add to Rory Landell’s problems he is going to be bypassed as the new American Wrestling Federation champion in favor of “Boy Scout” Bob Schultz keeping his title for those higher pay-per-view ratings.  With this bombshell happening Rory decides to bite the hand that feeds him and during his pre-wresting interview Rory declares himself the “Galactic Champion of the Universe” and I love how that statement will come back to haunt him.  Remember earlier how I mentioned nostalgia, well that works perfectly as the story opens back in 1999 and then flashes back to 1984 which would be when Rory makes his bold declaration and those galactic claims finally make it to Planet Wrestletopia fifteen years later.  So not only is Rory having a hard time on Earth his problems are about to go universal. 

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1 interior art

I really enjoyed the dialogue and humor in this first issue as it plays perfectly to the troupes of televised wrestling; all the extravagant build up and multiple use of “brother!”  The characters interacted perfectly to establish a history and you do feel for Rory’s girlfriend, Linda, and Mr. Don Fong Wong as they really care for Rory but their hopes for Rory are dashed.  The issue does leave you wanting more as we are barely introduced to Manifest Destiny but it will be very exciting to see him go up against Rory, who is currently a washout.  If you enjoyed The Wrestler movie then you are going to enjoy this lighter look at a lost hero’s path as it keeps the drama but has just the right amount of laughs to entertain. 

The art by Dan Schkade is great as his style is perfect for these larger than life characters but not unbelievable as well.  Dan has fantastic layouts for the wrestling scenes that keep the action moving and also provide the slapstick to make it happen.  I also appreciate the way the characters aged and retained their look as well; you can see they have been weather by life but you know who they are.  Dan’s art is also enhanced by Marissa Louise’s colors and she brings an amazing palette that takes the wrestling ring to the farther corners of the universe and makes that spandex look heroic. 

Matt Entin & Ed Kuehnel the writers behind the story

So if you are looking for a great escape and fun time then I would highly recommend this six issue miniseries for you.  Comics are always fun but they are even better when you find independent stories that are made with creators who are doing it for the passion and fun of it all; so head on over to Comixology and check out Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1.

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia is a six-issue mini-series created and written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions, the production company they founded in order to waste money. Social media is here: TwitterTumblrInstagramFacebook.

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