Over The Ropes: Broken Kayfabe #1: Mad Cave Review

Jun 30, 2022

Mad Cave Studios

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It’s no secret that the first Volume of OVER THE ROPES must have been a major attraction for fans of wrestling. And why not be excited for Volume 2 of OVER THE ROPES: BROKEN KAYFABE? I imagine I would be, having read both the first volume and the new, digital exclusive, first issue of Volume 2. A no-spoilers commentary on this new story follows, which begins June 29 exclusively as the first such digital title at Mad Cave Studios. In fact, when you subscribe, you even get a copy of the print Trade Paperback (TP) format when this arc is complete.

Mad Cave Studios
Written by: Jay Sandlin
Art by: Antonello Cosentino
Color by: Francesco Segala
Lettering by: Justin Birch

Non-Wrestling Fans? Listen Up!

What’s that you say? Not a wrestling fan? Not sure this is for you? Well you may have noticed that I mentioned I am barely wrestling-ready myself. You may also be surprised to know that I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It’s true that my first “cold read” of the newest issue was a lot less overwhelming when I got to read the premiere arc of  OVER THE ROPES. But here’s the thing — even when there were notes directing me to Vol 1 for back-story, I could still follow along in this one. I have to credit the creators for this, especially author Jay Sandlin. I’m not unfamiliar with his work, such as DJINN HUNTER and WORLDCLASS. He’s got range, and it shows on more than just his website, which I thoroughly enjoy as well. So what’s in it for everybody?

What’s Happening in This Volume?

This story builds on the first volume but also seems to stand alone. Set in the 1990s, it focuses on the SFW wrestling champion, Phoenix, starring with his onstage entourage, including his girlfriend, learning the ropes as relatively new talent, Scorch. (Yeah, I have a pun affinity.) But things heat up quickly when a rival group rises up against him that’s led by Phoenix’s very own father. Needless to say, they are NOT on good terms, and Daddy Dearest, otherwise known here as Buddy Peacock, presents a number of threats to Phoenix, in and out of the ring.

Wait, What About Us Non-Wrestling Fans Again?

Some of you might be wondering what’s in it for you if you’re not into wrestling. Sounds like it’s all in the ring, right? But it’s not. This is a drama, with all the compelling dilemmas and fun of a night-time soap, and the added layer of Kayfabe. It’s not just the subtitle; it’s an entire mood AND a fourth wall.

Wait, Fourth What?

If you haven’t heard much about Kayfabe, it’s used interestingly by Sandlin here. It’s not just the idea that professional wrestlers need to keep up the drama associated with their personas in and out of the matches. It’s also a way of Breaking the Fourth Wall in this story. That is to say, it exposes the tension between the wrestler’s artistic and athletic performances and their real personal lives here. I don’t know about you, but that’s a real draw for me, especially between Phoenix (aka Jason) and Scorch (aka Courtney). Between this, the family drama, and the show business shadiness and layered agendas of it all, there is literally something for everyone. I hope you check this out. For me, Mad Cave Studios is synonymous with both versatility and a great time. OVER THE ROPES: BROKEN KEYFABE #1 is a great example of all of this. It also reunites a great creative team, who was also responsible for the first stand-alone arc of OVER THE ROPES.

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