AJ Mendez returns to the wrestling ring, sort of. Most people remember her during her tenure in WWE as AJ Lee. Since retiring, she wrote a memoir called Crazy is My Superpower and is an advocate for mental health and animal welfare awareness. Now, she and writing partner/incredible actress Aimee Garcia (Lucifer, Dexter), make their comic book writing debuts with GLOW vs. The Babyface #1, featuring some fantastic art by Hannah Templer (Cosmoknights). In the first issue, the GLOW women find themselves locking up against a foe that’s usually good for business: the media.
The GLOW women learn to cut promos that make them look like angels when a local news station wants to interview them. Apparently, some parents in the area are convinced that the GLOW wrestlers are to blame for an uprise of fights at an elementary school. 14 kids let themselves get body-slammed off monkey bars. In addition to trying to clear their image with the media, they find a young runaway living under their wrestling ring.
Sometimes the transition from film and tv to comic is not an easy task. Luckily for Mendez and Garcia that isn’t the case here. Mendez and Garcia have easily captured lighting in a bottle with their terrific new comic series. It embodies the same heart, humor, and charisma that made the Netflix series such a smash hit. The only difference here is the foul language is cut back a bit, but that’s highly understandable. There are some great references in the issue including one paying homage to Jem and the Holograms.
Although it doesn’t indicate the time period when this is all taking place, if you’ve seen the show then you easily get the sense that these events would have taken place somewhere during season two. Another great thing about the writing is how Mendez and Garcia are able to interconnect multiple layers of story within the same issue that is simple to follow. You never feel lost at what’s going on and the pacing allows enough time for each joke and action to live in the moment. This sets the series off to a great start.
Wrasslin’ with the Illustrations
Hannah Templer is the genius behind the very upbeat and simple illustrations that help bring the GLOW women alive on each page. Her style choice for the series looks similar to the animated series Steven Universe by Rebeca Sugar (minus the aliens). She does an amazing job making sure her character designs resemble the show actors. Aside from that, some of my favorite pages in this issue are the ones where the girls are cutting their fake promos to convince Sam they should use them for the commercial.
GLOW vs. The Babyface is the beginning of a series with a lot of potential. You can really tell that Garcia, Mendez, and Templer worked hard on this book. It was thoroughly entertaining and makes you want to watch the show if you haven’t already. This is one you won’t wont to skip during your next trip to the comic shop. It also has a few cool variants to look out for as well.
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