Hell Is a Squared Circle (September 2022)
Writer – Chris Condon
Artist – Francesco Biagini
Comic books and pro wrestling go hand in hand. If you like one, you will probably like the other. Pro wrestling made a (five-star frog) splash into the world of comics this year with the release of The Crimson Cage and Do a Powerbomb! One recent book that caught my eye and I rushed to pre-order was Hell is a Squared Circle from AfterShock Comics.
Ted Walsh’s wrestling career is floundering. Promises made by promotor Steve Kerry remain broken whenever Ted reminds his boss of them. After a long night of drinking and wallowing in self-pity, Ted has an idea to get what he deserves no matter what it will cost him. A series of bad decisions leads to a new life for Ted …one where he sits at the top of the card and is cheered by crowds of rabid fans. When the past starts to catch up with Ted, he must do whatever he can to hold on to the power and glory he has achieved without sliding back down the destructive path he was on years before.
This one-shot is like a five-star wrestling match – emotional highs and lows with back and forth between opponents, some twists and turns you don’t see coming, and a jaw dropping ending that will leave you in shock and awe.
AfterShock Comics has been releasing these oversized one-shots over the past year. Although I have bought almost every single one of them, this is the first one that I have actually made time to sit down and read. I like the format of these books but they are a very hard to keep in pristine condition and you need a magazine sized bag and board to protect them, which I don’t normally keep on hand. The price of these one-shots are 8 dollars and some people are trying to save money on their weekly comics and tend to skip these offerings. For 8 bucks, you can get 2 $3.99 comics and enjoy two books for the price of one. Let me be the first to tell you that this comic was worth every penny.
Sometimes I’ll give a rating for the books I read and review and sometimes I don’t – Hell is a Squared Circle is definitely going to make my list of best comics of 2022. This book is flawless. I loved the art by Biagini and he does a great job with all of the character’s facial expressions. Dark color contrasted with neon hues by Mark Englert helps separate the real world with the fantasy one inside the wrestling ring. Chris Condon has another surefire hit on his hands and his legacy continues to grow as one of comics’ best writers.
My final rating for this book is five stars out of five. I don’t normally give out a lot of fives but this comic is one of those rare exceptions. I could see where some of the plot was headed and at times I had to go back and make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. One of my favorite panels was when Ted goes to a bar called the Hitman, a nice Easter egg about former WWF champ Bret Hart. The ending will be talked about for years to come, much like the finish of the Montreal Screwjob and the end of The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke. Some will love it, others will hate it, but it will stick with you and make you think about it long after you finish it.