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Review: The Crimson Cage #1

The Crimson Cage #1

Take Shakespeare’s Macbeth and put it in the world of professional wrestling and you get The Crimson Cage #1, an interesting debut that should be pretty enjoyable for fans of sports entertainment.

Set in New Orleans in 1984, Chuck Frenzy is the headliner of the local Louisiana pro wrestling territory. He of course wants more. In a fateful meeting, Frenzy comes across a trio of beings who promise him glory, a run as the champion. But, to get there, he must do something horrible.

Written by John Lees, The Crimson Cage #1 is an interesting debut that works in some ways and others it falls a little short. The story takes a lot from Macbeth and that works really well for the overall plot. But, it’s some of the specifics and details that feel a little off.

The idea of a story about the ins and outs of professional wrestling and one doing something horrible to reach the top is a great idea. That stands on its own and has no need of any supernatural elements. It’s the supernatural elements that takes the story out of its focus.

It’d be easy to just focus on the wrestling, and yes the idea of supernatural beings pushing the narrative is part of Macbeth, but the story so far would still work, and work well, without them. I’d argue it’d make some of the decisions and moves even more ominous and cold. It’d be straight want as opposed to being driven by what you’re told is your destiny. There’d be something a bit more dramatic about it all as opposed to just being pre-determined events. Though, for wrestling there’s something interesting there that isn’t quite played up enough.

The art by Alex Cormack delivers all the action and drama with a dark cloud hanging over it all. Ashley Cormack provides the colors with lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The style of the comic delivers a flair for all the characters that creates larger than life characters but at the same time does so in a small time promotion sort of way. Each character has a look and style that tells a story by itself. The wrestling action is captured really well. There’s a lot of emotion as well that plays out in the panels.

The idea of a pre-determined destiny playing out in a pre-determined sport is an interesting concept. That’s what the elements of Macbeth brings to The Crimson Cage #1 but that juxtaposition isn’t focused on enough in the debut. Instead, it feels like a normal story of greed with some supernatural elements that don’t quite fit. There’s something really close to being a hell of a read here but it dances around either its more interesting aspects or dives into them without much need for them.

Story: John Lees Art: Alex Cormack
Color: Ashley Cormack Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.7 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

AWA Studios Announces Hotell Vol. 2 #1 and The Crimson Cage #1 for December

Hotell Vol. 2 #1

(W) John Lees (A) Dalibor Talajic, Lee Loughridge
(CA) Keron Grant, Mike Deodato Jr.
ORDER CODE – A: OCT211314, B: OCT211315
FOC: November 8 On Sale: December 1

Five more interconnected stories chronicle another harrowing week at Pierrot Courts, the mysterious roadside motel where lost souls make their last stand with the demons that haunt them. A family, desperate and destitute after being evicted from their home. A struggling artist, yearning for inspiration. A lonely bachelor, tending to his beloved, ailing dog. A brutal motorcycle gang, hunting for a runaway initiate…When all these haunted souls check into the Pierrot Courts, who will survive to check out?

The Crimson Cage #1

(W) John Lees (A/CA) Alex Cormack, Ashley Cormack
ORDER CODE – A: OCT211316, B: OCT211317
FOC: November 15 On Sale: December 8

Double double toil and rumble…Brace yourself for a No-Holds-Bard reimagining of William Shakespeare’s MACBETH from the critically-acclaimed creators of Sink. New Orleans, 1984. Chuck Frenzy is the main event star of the local Louisiana pro wrestling territory, but yearns for something greater. A fateful encounter with a trio of terrifying beings in the Bayou gives Chuck a glimpse of championship glory beyond his wildest dreams…if he is willing to do something terrible to achieve it. Join writer John Lees (HOTELL) and artist Alex Cormack (SEA OF SORROWS) for a thrilling new vision of the classic tale of ambition and madness, starting with this special, oversized first chapter.