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