Ringside Volume Two: Work

Ringside Volume Two: Work
Ringside Volume Two Work review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Image Comics - 978-1-53430-035-4
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2017
  • UPC: 9781534300354
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Crime, Sport

Ringside is a crime drama set around the world of wrestling, although very much on the outskirts as Joe Keatinge’s interest is in the people, not televised smackdowns. As for the trash talk, there’s enough of that from moneylender Eduard, for whom former wrestler Dan Knossos agreed to work as an enforcer at the end of Kayfabe.

Both ends of a wrestling career are spotlighted. Dan is one of several guys now in their forties and fifties who’ll never again appear in the ring. Provided they keep their mouth shut, though, there may be a job for them in Florida training CMW’s next bunch of hopefuls. The entry point is represented by Reynolds, who’s just been given his first contract.

There’s been some clever writing in Ringside. Keatinge didn’t reveal everything in Kayfabe, but revelations about how people connect are a theme to Work, both their pasts and their presents. However, beyond the wrestling theme and the general downbeat atmosphere there’s a disconnect between the various plot threads, but they’re interesting enough individually to overlook that for the time being. It’s a neat touch that Ringside’s two real monsters are the men in charge of different organisations.

Nick Barber’s art is still efficient without shining as it might. He defines the cast well, tells the story well, and is using more black ink for a darker tone with Michael Avon Oeming as an influence, but he leaves colourist Simon Gough to fill the backgrounds, and even the spartan needs of a noir story call out for more than Barber sometimes supplies. Still, it’s by no means poor artwork, just spartan, and Ringside often doesn’t need more. It concludes with the ominously titled Shoot.