J Gonzo’s La Mano Del Destino (2021)
WrestleMania 38 has come and gone and my friends and I are stilling coming down from that high. It’s roughly about a month until the next WWE PPV and I’m trying to keep up with wrestling news and seeing where the post-Mania road will take us. Taking all of this into account, the TO Comic Club chose La Mano Del Destino as its next reading selection for discussion.
Lucha Libre star Ernesto el General was disgraced and unmasked in front of his adoring fans after refusing to trade his integrity for some cold hard cash. Not long after this incident, a mysterious promoter offers him a chance to get revenge on those that took part in his humiliation by offering the luchador a new identity. Before he can rise to the main event and get his hands on Jefe, the chief orchestrator of this dishonorable act, and his Rudos, he must learn a few hard lessons from his manager, Genaro Gonzalez. As La Mano Del Destino climbs the ladder of success, he gains the respect and admiration of the crowd. The final bout will be against Jefe’s right-hand man and World Champion, Calavera. What La Mano Del Destino doesn’t know is that that the past might put a headlock on his future as long-hidden secrets from both his and GG’s past rear their ugly head in the present.
Part Shakespeare, part soap opera, I really loved the art and coloring of this story. The mix between the muted bronze and the vibrant colors dazzle the eyes and help enhance the spectacle of the squared circle. I read this on my Kindle Fire through Hoopla but I think this would have been more enjoyable if I read the physical edition instead. The pacing of the story is great. Just as we see where the direction of the story is headed, there are a few swerves to the past to help answer some of the mysteries surrounding La Mano Del Destino, GG, Calavera, and that unseen promoter. The climax of Issue Five sets up the shocking finale but I did have to go back a few issues more than once because I was unsure of a few things. If you do read this graphic novel, pay close attention to Issue Two as it reveals the origin of La Mano Del Destino and how he found his way into lucha libre.
Throughout the story, just when you think La Mano del Destino looks like he’s down for the count, he’s able to push through pain and anguish with his fierce grit and unyielding determination to have his hand raised at the end of the match. As he makes his way through his adversaries and begins to win title after title, he starts to win over the hearts and minds of the crowd. If you are a fan of underdog stories, this graphic novel will make you want to stand up and cheer at the very end.
Vince McMahon and Tony Khan could learn a few lessons in action, intrigue, and drama and how to tell a good story in the ring by reading La Mano Del Destino.
I give this graphic novel four masks out of five. Although I only know a few facts about lucha libre, I would like to learn more about it and how important it is to Mexico and how it compares and differs from American wrestling. La Mano De Destino does a great job combining pro wrestling and comics in one complete package. There is potential to turning this series into a franchise and by having the story set in the 1960s, you can delve into the past to learn about the luchadors that came before La Mano Del Destino and how his impact on the sport might have shaped the future of lucha libre for the boys and girls that saw him on television.