Former wrestling legend Danny Knossos is introduced to his new line of work, Davis is adjusting to his new life in Florida, Reynolds continues to grind the road as one of CMW’s premier disposable jobbers as he tries to make his way out of it and into a cohesive televised storyline.
One of the most enjoyable things in Ringside has been the multiple stories that unfold throughout the comic. It has given Joe Keatinge the ability to approach different aspects of the business at the same time, as well as being able to fit in a story outside of wrestling from people who used to be involved in the business like the Danny and Teddy sub-plot. Which turns the whole thing into a type of HBO one-hour drama about the wrestling business. In this issue, we see Reynolds giving advice when someone’s match has been cut from the card, “keep your head down and don’t raise any fuss,” is basically what he says. By separating Reynolds from the protection of a veteran like Davis, Joe Keatinge has been able to shine a light on the little control or job security wrestlers have in a company as big as CMW or its real-life parallel. It’s known that they have little control over their character, the storylines they’re involved in, or if they will have matches that night or not, regardless of being called with their gear ready, and how a lot of creative people can consider being a writer in a wrestling company as a transitional job.
One of the reinforcers of my comparison of Ringside to an HBO show is Nick Barbers panels. Very cinematic and slow paced. Scenes that are evenly paced and although subtle in detail, the dialogue from Keatinge, combined with the reactions drawn by Barber carry that much more weight and characterization that’s now becoming a staple of this comic. Simon’ Gough’s use of colors and combination with shadows shrouds Ringside with seriousness that’s up there with Southern Bastards and any work from Sean Phillips/Ed Brubaker. It’s tough to see a full sunny day in this comic, the continued use of mid shots and close ups raise the tension each panel as the characters don’t have a moment of clarity and seem to end up from one problem to the next.
If wrestling business isn’t one of the industries most filled with gossip outside of general entertainment business, I don’t know what else could be. From the time kayfabe was broken in the early 90s, people have searched through tell-all books, shoot interviews, and now any piece of internet article that gives them new information on their favorite wrestler. Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber have busted open a cinematic window into the lives of these wrestlers and their very troubled lives.
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Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Nick Barber
Colorist: Simon Gough
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital