There are a lot of comics out there, but some just stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we look at “WWE,” a comic tie-in that is a lot better than expected.
Who is This By?
“WWE” has been mostly written by Dennis Hopeless (“Jean Grey”) and art by Serg Acuna. Doug Garbark (“DC Bombshells”) joins on colors with Jim Campbell on lettering. Back-up stories are done by a variety of guest contributors.
What’s It All About?
“WWE” a.k.a. “World Wrestling Entertainment” is taking the storylines of Vince McMahon’s House of Big Grappling Sweaty Lads & Lasses and adapting them to comic book format while also expanding upon them. Each arc (around four issues) tells a different story. The first arc told the story of Seth Rollins’s rehabilitation/redemption after his knee essentially exploded. Every issue also comes with a back-up story, some being multi-parters (The New Day story), some one-shots on a certain character (Goldust) that provide some intrigue.
What Makes It So Great
Okay, so the book is essentially expansions on WWE storylines. A problem with WWE lately is \they feel like story lines have very little long-term planning or problems coming up that have cause very late-stage changes. But when you take out the . . . well . . . real life aspects and have a concise story crafted by a smaller team of creators, you have a series perhaps better than it should be. This series could have been a cheaply made tie-in series that had minor effort put into it.
But it’s a really good book. There’s some legitimate pathos to be dealt with, such as with Rollins’s injury in the first arc. There is some good funny moments between Dean Ambrose and Sasha Banks on their wild road trip in the second arc. But truly, Hopeless, Acuna, and company really gel together in the third arc, a character study of Roman Reigns and his relationship with his literal/metaphorical family: the WWE and the fans. And it’s perhaps the best story with Roman Reigns . . . ever. Like, it took what WWE has wanted to do, get people to like Roman Reigns, and actually do it in a concise and understandable way that made him human.
I’ll admit, on the art side, it took a bit for the team to get started, but a year in, it’s taking off. Acuna and Garbark do manage to capture the likenesses of the real life people without it feeling stiff and the action, both in the ring and out, feel appropriately cathartic. Going back to the Roman Reigns arc, they contrast young Roman’s optimism with present-day Roman hit with the reality of how the fans treat him and how without words we see all the emotions bubbling up until they finally reach the tipping point. It does a lot even without Hopeless’s narration.
The series has also put out a plethora of specials to coincide with WWE’s “Big 4” pay per view events, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, and the most recent being Royal Rumble. Each of these specials are an anthology telling tales about famous moments that tie in with those shows, examples being the infamous Montreal Screwjob from the 1997 Survivor Series, Kofi Kingston’s clever ways to avoid elimination in the Royal Rumble and Daniel Bryan winning the big one at Wrestlemania 30. They’re nice ways to convey the long history of the promotion in a variety of styles ranging from the outright silly to the serious.
How Can You Read It?
Volume 1, Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim.’ is available physically and digitally with volume 2, ‘The Lunatic Fringe’ coming out next week. Today also sees the release of issue #13, which is an anthology to celebrate Raw’s 25th anniversary.