Glorious Wrestling Alliance from cartoonist Josh Hicks slams you straight into the insane world of pro wrestling as he chronicles the ups and downs of a struggling band of wrestlers lead by their fish-headed leader Great Carp. Collected in full colour for the first time, the series covers identity, anxiety, and of course, leg drops. The main story revolves around the struggling GWA under the reluctant and clueless CEO Ricky Lovett Jr., who shouldn't be in the position he is but that's too late and he's already dragging the company along with barely a clue as to how they will survive as a business.
As for the wrestlers, the Great Carp is the star of the show. I'm still not sure whether his carp head is real or a mask and frankly, I don't care because either way, it's the absurdity of it and that you can actually question that, that adds to the characters greatness. There's a wrestler called Gravy Train who wants a new gimmick but struggles because he's shaped like a giant gravy boat, gravy and all. Are his struggles because that's who he actually is and it's not just his wrestling gimmick? If so, what is the gravy and how does it top itself up? Again though, the absurdity of it and that you question this is what makes it hilarious and fun.
There's Death Machine who doubles as a frustrated self-published poet who despite what he says, can't stop putting wrestling references into his poems. And to finalise the main cast there's Miranda Fury who has the joy of playing two characters and collecting two paychecks because she's managed to convince the owner that her masked character Hyper Mask is a completely different person.
There's no backstory to be found, which is fine because it's simply not needed. The GWA roster is absurd and fun, so giving explanations to how they are as they are would just be unnecessary and break up the flow of the story that jogs along at an enjoyable pace. Sure, you will wonder just what the hell is happening when you start reading it along with some burning questions over just how plausible some things are, but it doesn't take long to just accept that this is the insane world of pro wrestling and that you're in for a wild ride of an adventure.
Glorious Wrestling Alliance is a love letter to pro-wrestling with all of its absurdities wrapped up in a cartoon style with fun, intelligence and wit. There are also important messages scattered throughout as the characters grow into themselves and their characters, all of which come naturally without feeling forced.
Humour is spread throughout Glorious Wrestling Alliance: Ultimate Championship Edition and this is where the book truly shines. Whether it's Great Carp living his normal life still with a carp for a face or him needlessly talking like a pro-wrestler when at home, the concerns over his health, the managers losing their minds over the wrestlers doing what they want or Gravy Train at almost any time - humour is the shining light of the book.
What is great in addition to the humour is the potential that the comic has to offer. This could easily continue further and even create some spin-offs. The characters are there for it. Glorious Wrestling Alliance has the potential to have a "glorious" future. If you're a fan of wrestling, then this is a must buy. You'll see so many parallels to the actual world of wrestling which adds to the hilarity of the events. Not all of the comedy lands, but enough does that it's an enjoyable read. The only real problem is that if you're not a fan of wrestling, then a lot of the humour will just fly over your head.