Whoa, Nellie! (1996) #1

Whoa Nellie01

Whoa, Nellie, one issue in, is just a Love and Rockets spin-off. There’s nothing wrong with it being “just” a spin-off; creator Jaime Hernandez has a great time with the wrestling scenes. The comic’s about would-be tag team women’s professional wrestlers Xochitl and Gina Bravo. They’re wrestler’s professional wrestlers; they’re just not a tag team. They fight each other. And Gina’s better. But she wants to do the tag team thing and refuses to give up on Xochitl.

Xochitl’s aunt, Vicki Glori, manages them. She wants Gina to do better and tries to engineer a path forward for Gina without Xochitl. Only Gina doesn’t want to do it. The biggest twist in the comic is when Vicki’s supposed to fight Gina—and elevate her—and instead has to fight Xochitl.

There’s some character material with Xochitl, who’s married with kids, and her kids don’t understand how wrestling works as far as the good and bad wrestlers. It drives a couple fun scenes. Vicki’s also got her character arc about being forced to betray niece Xochtil in favor of Gina. Gina doesn’t have much to do other than be a good friend to Xochitl.

Gina and Xochtil came into Love and Rockets relatively late in the series, and both had their initial story arcs mostly resolve (as I recall).

Jaime’s favorite material is clearly the wrestling matches, a combination of “realistic” (for wrestling) and comic strip pacing. He sets up sight gags, follows through, sets up some more. It’s a lot of fun and has a great pace. Doesn’t have any real drama so far—even with Xochitl and Gina getting in over their heads for the finale—but it’s really… nice. Even if you aren’t pre-inclined to a Love and Rockets spin-off, it’s about being good friends and trying to be a good mom and so on. There’s no malice, despite the chair-breaking wrestling matches. It’s very easy to like the characters and sympathize with them. Though, I suppose Vicki might seem like the villain unless you know her history.

But only might. Jaime gives her the most character development drama in her arc.

It’s a delightful read. Kind of slight so far, but also, who cares. The art’s great, with Jaime’s fun and enthusiasm welcome to the reader as well. The matches are great action. Yay, Nellie!.

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