L.U.C.H.A. Comic Review: The Monster Fighting Luchadore This World Needed
Do you ever feel like the world is an empty place without enough monster-fighting superhero-detective luchadors in it?
It’s okay to admit that this very concern occupies your mind as you lay awake at 3 a.m., staring into the darkness. It happens to us all.
Luckily, a handful of indomitable souls have taken up the call to fight back against this all-consuming void. Chief among them are writer C.W. Cooke and artist Travis Hymel, who teamed up to deliver L.U.C.H.A., a wrestling sci-fi thriller. Cooke took to Kickstarter to fund this creator-owned slice of joy, describing it as “Lucha Underground meets Truman Show: A luchador detective comic with a monstrous twist!” Launched on October 8th, 2018 and fully funded five days later, L.U.C.H.A. was eagerly embraced by backers. Digital copies of the first issue for Kickstarter backers dropped on Feb 19th.
The book opens with a crime noir scene that would be at home in the pages of Sin City, if not for the protagonist rocking a powder blue wrestling singlet and mask. Framed for murder, our hero is forced to fight his way through armed agents, only to land face to face with a monster.
Hymel’s art really shines in these action-packed pages. He experiments to great effect with unconventional page layouts, packed with kinetic energy. There’s one double-page spread of cartoonish violence that is next-level genius. A punch isn’t just a punch, it’s a Walt Simonson-ian brand visualization of sound that explodes off the page. It’s the kind of thing that only comics can really do, and it’s awesome.
C.W. Cooke certainly aced the “Comics Should Be Fun” semester of comic book school. It’s a thing of pure joy as L.U.C.H.A. masterfully smashes genre conventions against each other just to see what the explosions look like. Brooding inner monologue gives way to head-locks, and body slams. The rain-soaked noir opening takes an unexpected hard swerve in the direction of Science Fiction. The comic has the “anything goes” zaniness of Mike & Laura Allred’s Madman comics. As Cooke told Bleeding Cool, “we felt like making this a kitchen sink style idea where everything can and should happen.”
If there’s one constant about this book, it’s that the entire story can be flipped on it’s head on the next page. With it’s penchant for plot twists, and collection of mysterious players, L.U.C.H.A. does a fantastic job of leaving the reader wanting more. All-in-all, it’s a great first issue.
L.U.C.H.A. also contains a five-page backup story that’s a lot of fun. Remember when 80’s Saturday morning cartoons were based on far more violent rated-R movies? It’s like that, in all the best ways. Again, Cooke’s love of the genre mashup comes out to play, as Challengers of the Unknown smashes against Scooby Doo.
This is a great comic for fans of Madman, Andrew MacLean’s Head Lopper, and even Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. There are so many different flavors involved, it’s really an outstanding comic for anyone who enjoys seeing how ridiculously bananas the medium can get.
As of today, the comic is only available to Kickstarter backers, but keep your eyes peeled, as it should be more widely available soon.