Vreckless Vrestlers takes 1980s-era WWE and gives it an intergalactic twist! In 3067, the citizenry of Excelsior turns to the brutality of VreVre for entertainment as the 59th One Rule-No Rules tournament gears up. The mysterious Manager travels through space and time to find the fiercest and most bizarre fighters for the match and transports them, either willingly or not, to his home planet for no-holds-barred fights to the death or extreme dismemberment.
Polish creator Lukasz Kowalczuk wanted to produce a comic that harkened back to the old style, theatrical wrestling of the 1980s, replete with outrageous costumes and collectible action figures. Issue #0 sets up the opponents, and Issues #1-3 take readers through the semi-finals. While the cartoony artwork may appeal to younger readers, parents may want to check to see if they are comfortable with the level of violence illustrated. ComiXology rates these works as 17+, but, as always, parents know their children best, and some younger teens may be mature enough to handle the unrealistic gore.
Rating the story on a comic series that has no dialogue is much harder than analyzing how lines help the flow of a plot; however, Vreckless Vrestlers conveys its purpose and meaning without any words in the main panels. Character profiles pop up before each fighter’s first appearance, but they function mostly like collectible stats cards than anything affecting the main plot. Some of the English is a little stilted, but given that it was translated from Polish, I have to cut the translator a little slack. We all know that American English makes very little sense!
Because there is no dialogue, the artwork carries the bulk of the story, and while it is deliberately cartoonish, I think it works well to highlight the over-the-top displays of classic WWE wrestling. Also, the violence and bloodshed would have been traumatizing to see with a more realistic art style! Kowalczuk uses only green, black, and white to color his panels, which gives an otherworldly glow to each piece. I almost laughed when I saw a pool of green surrounding an injured fighter’s head, because it looked so out of place. As someone who doesn’t enjoy intense violence, I appreciated the choice to avoid realistic reds or skin tones.
While I doubt I would read Vreckless Vrestlers #0-3 again, I can’t deny that it’s an excellent homage to a bygone day and a creative use of the comic book medium. Readers who remember Hulk Hogan-era WWE with nostalgia should check this series out, and if you’re even a tiny bit intrigued by the idea of non-verbal, intergalactic, no-holds-barred fighting, get it! If you can track down print copies, it’ll be even more fun, because there are silly activities in the middle of some issues like a maze and identify the differences pictures!
4 “Wait, that’s a gigantic fighting CRAYFISH?” out of 5