In GateCrashers’ Best of 2022, I singled out Daniel Warren Johnson (Beta Ray Bill, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth), Rus Wooton, and Mike Spicer (Murder Falcon)’s Do A Powerbomb! as my overall favorite comic of the year and with good reason. This book is basically a microcosm of what makes wrestling great and how sequential art can be taken to its maximum level to tell a compelling story.
Described as “The Wrestler meets Dragon Ball Z”, the story follows Lona Steelheart and her quest to be a wrestler in her own right. She’s the daughter of the legendary Yua Steelrose – a story familiar for those who know what the words “wrestling has more than one royal family” mean.
As a young child, Lona bore witness to a tragedy take place in the ring involving her mom. Ten years later, this has only driven her desire to become a wrestling legend just like her famous mother. From there, Do A Powerbomb! unravels its true potential as the supernatural angle takes shape – setting the tone for the rest of the series.
This new trade paperback collects all seven issues of the miniseries, allowing readers to get the entire story of heroine Lona Steelrose and her wrestling family without having to wait for a month to see the next chapter of the story. It also begins with a heartfelt message written by Johnson himself, recanting how he fell in love with wrestling after seeing a New Japan Pro-Wrestling match for the first time in 2018.
DAP! is very much Johnson’s baby, so to speak. Along with writing all seven issues, he provides the always-electric art that provides a fantastic backdrop to the action. A big reason why this story resonated the way it has was Johnson’s wonderfully chaotic art. There is just an energy to every sequence that he draws that makes DAP! feel as exciting as a five-star match at the Tokyo Dome. The standout moment comes at the final issue of the miniseries, where Lona’s fateful match against an ethereal opponent makes Johnson’s lines really shine.
Complimenting the excellent and energetic art is Spicer’s colors, which are vibrant and fit the wacky, colorful wrestling world that Johnson has created. Topping it all is Wooton’s lettering, which manages to match the frenetic artwork and colors. All in all, it’s a winning trios tag team effort from Johnson, Spicer, and Wooton.
The heart that keeps Do A Powerbomb! ticking beyond the wrestling action is its protagonist. Like the best wrestling stories, every story needs a good babyface, and Lona Steelheart fits that bill perfectly. She is an indomitable force of will and passion for being the best wrestler she can be, and Johnson triumphs in making her someone we can root for easily.
Reliving every moment that Do A Powerbomb! has to offer in its seven issues has been a treat once again. Wrestling fans will appreciate the story being told and come to embrace a greater tale filled with heart and emotion all around. You can’t go wrong with a winner of a story that’ll keep you engaged until the final bell.