The comic follows the story of the film closely. A desperate Mexican wants the best for his family, and that means finding a way into American. An unscrupulous trafficker takes his wife and child, but won’t show pity on Armando, who doesn’t have enough money to pay for all three passages. Promising to meet his family over the border one way or another, they part ways.
Unfortunately for Armando, his gruelling voyage of hope ends abruptly when he drugged and shanghaied by a stranger who offers him a drink. He awakes in a crudely constructed wrestling ring with a Lucha mask stitched to his face. A monstrous opponent facing him…
The first thing to strike you with Kurabayashi’s digital art is how frenetic it is, from the anguish on the face of the hopeful Armando to the disgustingly twisted and distorted visage of the titular Lucha monster and the depraved and equally abnormal locals who surround the ‘match’ the poor Mexican is forced to fight in. The story stays very faithful to the short, whereas the earlier adaptation embellished the tale with a little more mythology. McKenzie’s story is much more fleshed out (pun very much intended) so there is no need for the expansion, but - like the short itself - it does leave one wanting more (so let’s hope the planned feature film version isn’t too far off!)
As with the previous release, the comic perfectly captures the brutal visceral essence of the film and one can taste the blood in every frame, particularly in the sickening crunches when El Gigante mangles his victim. For those who haven’t seen the short, it’s the perfect appetiser, but it can be enjoyed independently from the source.
The digital comic will be available to download anywhere in the world (there’s an English language version), so what have you got to lose?
EL GIGANTE - THE COMIC / AUTHOR: SHANE MCKENZIE / ARTIST: DAIJU KURABAYASHI / DESIGN: HIRO FUJII / RELEASE DATE: MAY 5TH