Comic review: Los luchadores mysteriosos

When Los Luchadores Mysteriosos crossed the Arts desk, I pounced. I’m usually more of a Fables or The Walking Dead fan, but come on! Flying saucers? Vampires? Zombies? Wrestlers? Cigars? I’m in! If you think that I should have issued a spoiler alert, all those story elements were on the front cover — who knows what magical twists and surprises lie inside? As the first effort of Winnipegger Evan Quiring — who created, wrote and inked the comic book — the campy romp was an admirable effort with nice art, but overall, left a little something to be desired.

Released in April of this year, the first issue is 30 pages of full colour, retro-style illustration that is a great venue for a crazy tale about some muchachos who just want to wrestle (or have something to prove, like Rey Diablo). The men are illustrated with every muscle outlined (I’ve been naming the muscles as I read, to help me study for an upcoming anatomy test), and the women are . . . well, they’re drawn according to many typical comic books’ style, and some people dig that. I feel like the artists (it was drawn by Quiring and coloured by Victoria Free) had a fun time working on the zombies, in particular. Wrestling scenes in the ring could have gone horribly awry, but Quiring and Free’s images flowed, worked together, and a reader doesn’t have to go back and try to figure out how panel one’s stance led to panel two’s.

Fight scenes are well-illustrated, but during peacetime, the text sometimes overwhelms the art and crowds the panels. Let’s introduce 17 characters over the course of a half-page, even though we’re only following the story lines of two of them in this issue! A little restraint goes a long way. While repeating phrases — like the countdown near the beginning of the story — could increase tension, it’s not always necessary to repeat absolutely every word of each subsequent phrase. The ensuing repetition amounts to an abundance of unimportant information that just takes away space from the artwork.

“Interception T-minus two minutes.” “Interception T-minus 30 seconds.” “Interception T-minus 10 seconds.” Chumaco, we get it!

All this was over the course of three panels, when the phrase “T-minus” wasn’t even appropriate. If you’re talking about time left before a launch, it’s “T-minus five seconds.” If you’re talking about estimated time left before impact, it’s more like “five seconds to impact.” When in doubt, just say “five seconds!” Ay mi madre!

The comic book doesn’t require a Spanish-English dictionary to comprehend the plot, but the commentarios of some of the characters (particularly the zombies) add an extra in-joke for readers who understand them. I like zombie culture, and thought I’d seen all the zombie categories one could, but never before have I seen Latino zombies! They like watching wrestling, love rock music and will revolt and destroy anyone who tries to tell them they can’t dance. It’s improbable, sure, but it’s campy fun! And why is the impossibly busty Ms. Riviera in her underwear all of a sudden, for no apparent reason? It’s camp! Who cares? Ave Fuego was bitten by a zombie — shouldn’t he be asking for braaaaaaaains about now?

Why is Rey Diablo the only one with the ability to actually leap tall buildings in a single bound? Does it seem odd that a vampire from outer space would go to the trouble of arranging and publicizing a fake wrestling match only to recruit two wrestlers for her zombie horde? Of course, but sometimes, even if you know it’s fake and kind of cheesy, you just have to sit back and enjoy the show.