Ladies and gentlemen, rise to your feet and give your applause for Mad Cave Studios’ latest comic book mini-series: Over the Ropes! A classic underdog tale, set during the golden age of wrestling: the 90’s. Wrestling is a story, and like in every good story you’ve got to have a winner people cherish and a loser people forget. Jason Lynn is done being the loser, and now it’s his big break. It’s his time to show the world what he’s made of. Its time for the phoenix to rise.
Over the Ropes, #1 is written by Jay Sandlin with artwork from Antonello Cosentino and tells the story of Jason Lynn. A small-time wrestler who finally finds his big break. In a world full of dangers and opportunities Jason has to prove he can not only handle the pressure inside the ring but out of it as well.
As someone who isn’t a huge fan of wrestling, even I found myself sucked into the over-the-top, dramatic world of 90’s wrestling through Over the Ropes. Jason is part of a smaller act, performing as a warm-up show almost for the main event of the world tour. Ricky Radison holds the world title, and now his son Billy Radison is aiming to take it from his old man. Its the showdown everyone’s waiting to see which means, no one’s really waiting to see Jason.
Whilst the action inside the ring felt gripping and downright electrifying I appreciated how much time we got to spend with Jason outside of the ring. We see him training, we see how he handles living away from his mom, we get to see his less than successful love life and we get to see just how hidden he is in Billy’s shadow.
After Billy is unfortuanlty left beaten up after a barroom brawl, Jason is presented with the opportunity he’s been waiting for, even if it wasn’t quite what he was expecting. Without wishing to spoil the issue, Jason chooses to truly “be himself” which leads to a genuinely satisfying wrestling match near the end of the issue, which will change Jason’s career forever.
Jason’s choices will no doubt lead to some troubles down the road, and after such a strong introduction to the series, it’ll be interesting to see how Jason changes as a person now that is wrestling career has shifted into another gear.
What’s so refreshing about Over the Ropes is that it’s a story truly grounded in reality. It’s down to earth and relatable, even to those of us who don’t live in the wrestling world. Thats accomplished mainly by its cast of characters, most importantly its main star.
Despite Jason’s obvious talent in the ring, when we first meet him he’s really no one special. He’s just like another person walking down the street. I loved him because of that. We see him go through hard times, and it surprised me how quickly I ended up connecting with him through only the first issue. Watching him finally get his big break felt satisfying and was easily the highlight of the comic.
The issues antagonist, is Billy Radison, upcoming hotshot in the wrestling world and son of Ricky Radison, the current title owner. Billy is the typical guy we all love to hate. Hot-headed, thinks he knows it all, basically just a bit of a jackass. His father isn’t much better either. Again, another reason why I think Jason works so well is that he along with Billy are both excellently written. I wanted Jason to succeed just so I could see Billy finally get knocked down a peg or two. As satisfying as it was to see here, I imagine it will cause Jason quite some trouble in the future.
The issue also has some smaller supporting characters, like Jason’s coach Barbwire, an old-time wrestler who doesn’t compete anymore, and Jason’s date, a girl named Courtney. I enjoyed both of them, although they weren’t given as much time to shine as Jason and Billy were, and I hope to see more of them in the future.
Yet again, Mad Cave Studios have produced some beautiful work. Over the Ropes captures that early 90’s feeling in a fantastic way, and it’s done through the artwork. Visually, it reminded me of Saturday morning wrestling shows of old. Whilst the comic looked great overall, it definitely looked it’s best when we get to see the action in the ring.
Over the Ropes feels like a strong start to what could be a great mini-series. It captures that 90’s wrestling feel, with an age-old tale of the underdog rising to the top, only here it’s mixed with a modern flare. Even if, like me, you’re not a huge wrestling fan, I highly suggest giving Over the Ropes a try once it launches in December. Who knows, you may find yourself sucked into a sport you never thought you’d enjoy.
Check out some of our other Mad Cave Studios reviews here: