blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Do a Powerbomb (2022) #3

Do a Powerbomb  3Powerbomb does not disappoint with its first issue at the tournament. Creator Daniel Warren Johnson starts with a bunch of emotion—last issue’s cliffhanger revealed wannabe wrestler Lona’s dad is actually Cobrasun, the wrestler who killed her mom. The opening scene fills in the backstory when Dad visits her uncle.

Their quick, boozy conversation reveals the ground situation we didn’t get in the first issue (since it was from Lona’s perspective as a little kid). Mom and Dad didn’t want to have to try explaining Dad being the heel wrestler, but eventually, they were going to tell Lona. So Mom knew she was wrestling Dad. So did the uncle. And it’s not impossible Mom knew he’d killed her.

But Powerbomb isn’t just about Lona’s sadness and Dad’s self-loathing; it’s about all the wrestlers in the tournament’s loss and self-loathing. When one team loses, they lose everything, something Johnson makes sure the reader feels—especially as it dawns on their opponents, who alternately show empathy and apathy.

It also turns out the other wrestlers aren’t playing by the same rules as Lona and her dad (she doesn’t find out Cobrasun’s her dad, though his protectiveness is a liability); pro wrestling in other dimensions isn’t a show; it’s for real. One of the other teams—who we haven’t met yet—is from Earth, so presumably there will be something to that match if and when it happens.

This issue has three fight scenes: two wrestling matches and a bar fight. Johnson emphasizes emotionality over mechanics. Well, the emotionality in the bar fight and one wrestling match, then the brutality of the other match. It helps set up the cliffhanger. Lona and Dad barely make it through their first day, and the next promises to be even more dangerous.

Once again, it’s a great issue. Johnson’s got a nice narrative distance pivot with Lona and Dad becoming joint protagonists (though uneven, as he’s keeping big secrets) while downgrading Necro, the inter-dimensional necromancer throwing the tournament, to an announcer role. The action’s faster-paced than before too, which is fine for the opening matches, but presumably, Johnson will slow the fights down again at some point.

The issue’s so affecting—the losers’ losses so palpable—I’m hoping against hope for a mega-happy ending. The not-psychopathic characters, even those just introduced this issue, deserve it.

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