Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Keatinge & Barber
Scheduled for release 11/25
"Ringside" is a noir, drama that just so happens to take place in the world of wrestling. The initial issue takes the lead character, Dan aka the Minotaur, and bounces him from his last gig and into the cruel world of reality. The comic captures the real-life drama of the characters and avoids becoming simply a wrestling comic with some characters that have lives outside of the ring. The comic book plunges into a violent mystery by the issue's end, which should bring the reader back for more. I enjoyed this comic book and definitely recommend giving it a read. Especially if you like criminal dramas or are interested in seedy underworlds (not just of wrestling) where characters all seem to have an agenda. This is a great read.
The plot doesn't manifest itself immediately. The comic begins with Dan basically getting let go from his latest wrestling job. The reader learns more about him and his situation as he moves through various conversations with characters. Looking to get himself back into a paying situation he starts to reconnect with people from his past. Things go a little awry by the end.
The book sounds like a slow read but it really isn't because the characters are interesting and the dialogue gets right to the point. Those expecting to see a lot of ring action will only find tiny snippets in the book but the story is better for keeping the focus on building the characters outside of the ring. The book's strength is the character work, both for the lead and the supporting cast. The tension that accumulates throughout the book is enhanced because the characters have room to get established and grow within the comic.
The artwork doesn't take the usual noir look of dark tones and reliance on shadows. The comic looks more like a Darwyn Cooke noir style that you might find in Cooke's Parker series. The comic book definitely captures the mood of a depressed character with a depressing future. This isn't to say the character is moping around, but the art presents a man that is down on his luck and at a crossroads in life. The visuals in this comic book are perfect for the story and tell their own story that completes the read.
"Ringside" is a realistic drama set in the world just outside the wrestling ring. Keatinge and Barber present a modern-noir comic book that mixes gritty characters, realistic situations and goes to the dark corners of life that people try to avoid. This comic delivers a compelling first issue and the series promises to be a deep and emotional ride. This is a first issue that is definitely worth picking up.
4.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles