Do A Powerbomb #1
Writer/Illustrator: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors: Mike Spicer
Publisher: Image Comics
Release date: June 15, 2022.
Daniel Warren Johnson was born to make wrestling comics. How do I know? Because of Do A Powerbomb, the writer/illustrator’s new Image comic set within the world of the greatest sports in human history (along with basketball, which shares more with wrestling than we think). If issue #1 is any indication, this series will capture the raw energy driving the spectacle of a wrestling match like no other before it.
Do A Powerbomb follows Lona Steelrose, the daughter of world champion Yua Steelrose. After a very familiar kind of tragedy for wrestling fans strikes Yua mid-match, Lona is left alone in the world with a dream to follow in her mother’s footsteps. But the road is fraught with shortcomings and disappointments, that is until a necromancer offers her a shot at a different type of title with an added reward attached to it that is just too good to pass up.
Those who’ve kept up with Warren Johnson’s body of work will not be surprised to find the story sets up quite a few emotional punches right from the get-go. Characters are guided by an intense devotion to family, to support their dreams at every turn. When those dreams end up as nightmares, though, the sense of grief and disappointment that pervades cuts deep and it carries throughout the story.
Warren Johnson’s art is possessed by a visceral sensation of speed and momentum that reminds of manga action sequences, particularly those of Katsuhiro Otomo’s (Akira). Punches, kicks, suplexes all slam down hard on the page and one can feel the pain inflicted on other characters during wrestling scenes.
Mike Spicer’s colors do a lot to bring this explosiveness to the fore. They don’t just elevate the stakes in these situations. They turn simple actions into big moments that seem essential to the choreography of a match. It’s a violent feast for the eyes that recreates the energy of actual wrestling on the comics page.
Fans of wrestling know that nostalgia is one of the sport’s biggest strengths. Looking for easter eggs and figuring out which characters are based on real wrestlers is not just part of the experience, it’s often expected. In a refreshing twist on this, I didn’t find Do A Powerbomb requires an encyclopedic knowledge of wrestling to enjoy. It’s fairly accessible and friendly to readers who don’t eat, breath, and bleed wrestling.
It would be easy to go on raving about Do A Powerbomb, but this is one of those comics that needs to be seen to be believed. The action, the characters, the spectacle is all there and presented on a high level of craft. It’s set up to be an emotional ride and it really does tug at the heart strings early on, but it does so in the service of doing something different with the culture it steps into. Do A Powerbomb is a comic with a purpose, like a wrestler rising through the ranks to get a shot at the title. It’s well on its way to becoming the stuff of legend.