a KC COLUMN by KC Carlson
Just in time for WrestleMania this coming Sunday, I decided it was time I sat down and read BOOM!’s new WWE comic, licensed from World Wrestling Entertainment and featuring many current pro wrestling personalities. I thought it was awesome! (But not like The Miz’s brand of awesome…) This comic is really, really good! This is one of the best comics about professional wrestling I’ve ever read. I realize that the bar on that particular sub-genre isn’t exactly high… Marvel’s 1992 comic based on WCW isn’t exactly demanding lots of back-issue money because it was good. It’s mostly because it’s close to impossible to find!
BOOM! started publishing comics with the WWE characters last year, beginning with the WWE: Then. Now. Forever one-shot, based on one of the slogans that appeared frequently on WWE programming. Since then, three monthly issues have appeared (with #4 due soon). But before we get WWE #4, there’s a WWE WrestleMania Special that’s in the shops as of today! Which is perfect timing since the real-life event is this Sunday, and I plan to have a basement full of friends over (including Westfield’s own Roger Ash, Wayne Markley, and Josh Crawley)! The show itself is so jam-packed that many of the matches have spilled over onto the two-hour Preview Show before the event actually begins. That’s at least six hours of wrestling programming on Sunday! Yikes!
BOOM!’s WWE WrestleMania Special is super-sized. (My digital review copy — THANKS BOOM! — has 42 pages of story, so I’m guessing at least 48 pages total.) It includes WrestleMania stories both past and present, notably about the classic Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon Ladder Match from WM X (which I saw live in Madison Square Garden in 1994), as well as Daniel Bryan’s legendary tour de force performance at WM XXX in 2014. Many will be surprised (but probably not shocked) about “The Long Con” of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. And then there is “Fight Forever” featuring Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
(I also had to laugh out loud at the hilarious cameo by Bret “Hitman” Hart in the Ladder Match story!)
The ongoing series is quite interesting as well. The main story arc is all about Seth Rollins and his drive to be the best in WWE. What’s special about it is that the creators (writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Serg Acuna) are keeping the story not only true to the ongoing WWE live storylines, but also incorporating Rollins’ recent real-life “bumps in the road” with injuries, surgery, and physical rehab. Points also for establishing in the comics both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as the “heel” bosses they are on RAW most weeks.
Also appearing in these early issues are the other Shield members (Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose), Bray Wyatt, the Usos, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesner (with Paul Heyman), Kane, and even the Undertaker. Other notables often lurk in the background.
Back-up stories are devoted to the New Day, Sasha Banks (with cameos by many of the Woman’s Revolution), and old-school characters like Tugboat and Earthquake. Even a Ric Flair cameo gets page time.
A back-up feature in WWE: Then. Now. Forever. takes classic promos by Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Triple H, John Cena, the New Day, Sasha Banks, the Undertaker, and Dusty Rhodes and brilliantly illustrates them as single-page specials. So far, these are my favorite things in the comics, and I would love to see more. A subsequent two-page Ultimate Warrior vignette in WWE #2 both simultaneously impressed and really creeped me out, which I count as a good thing. Similarly, Finn Balor gets a two-pager in WWE #3.
BTW, BOOM!’s first WWE TPB collection is being solicited in the Previews that hits comic shops today. It collects WWE: Then. Now. Forever #1 and the first four issues of the regular WWE comic. It will be released in August and is called WWE: Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. 144 pages.
KC FREAKIN’ CARLSON has been watching professional wrestling almost as long as he’s been reading comic books. One of his earliest live action (AWA) wrestling memories is watching Bobby “The Brain” Heenan win a Battle Royal in Rockford, Illinois, at some point in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s by hiding under the ring the entire time only to come out at the end and blindside the guy who thought he was the winner.
My next Battle Royal (outside, at night, at a high school football field, also in Rockford) was down to two guys, when suddenly, the lights went out! There was a lot of yelling and stuff in the pitch darkness, and when the light came back on, everybody that was previously eliminated had crawled back into the ring, and the match started over. Both of these finishes were SO dumb that I became a fan of wrestling for life. It wasn’t until years later that I was told that those two finishes happened 80-90% of the time in EVERY Battle Royal match. By then, the advent of more wrestling on television meant that they eventually had to come up with new ideas! Just like what happened to comic books in the ‘60s and ‘70s, right Stan?!
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Brain, I hope that you are doing well. You were always my favorite, you big Weasel…