(W) Dennis Hopeless (A) Serg Acuña and Doug Garbark (L) Jim Campbell
WWE #1 hits the ground running. After destroying the brotherhood of his former faction, The Shield, Seth Rollins scores himself a “Money in the Bank” contract. He snags his opportunity, but not without screwing over his former brother, Dean Ambrose with a little *ahem* assistance. This first story arc follows Seth’s journey to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the impact his actions have on his deserted former teammates, and the intimidating struggle of being Triple H’s Golden Boy.
It’s a general fact that matches and promos are rehearsed up to a certain point. What if all the televised drama was genuine? The action, betrayal, and intense emotions viewers witness at every event; what would that look like backstage and outside the arenas? That is referred to as kayfabe, and this series presents the points-of-view from different wrestlers as if the turmoil observed by fans never ends.
Following the one-shot that came out in November 2016, the series kicks off from Seth Rollins’ point-of-view – which is a brilliant move. With frequent and well-placed thought bubbles, readers see his transition into a major heel, and the psychology behind his motivations. Whether writer Dennis Hopeless is a wrestling fan or has done his research, he has written all speaking characters as if readers were watching backstage. Rollins radiates cockiness and complete detachment of his co-workers’ feelings in true heel fashion. Meanwhile we have Roman Reigns being the beefy voice of reason, and Dean Ambrose as the burly hothead that won’t give Seth a break.
Serg Acuña illustrates the faces and body types sufficiently. The use of light, thin lines work to show more detail in muscle definition, and the repetitive lines used for shading and demonstrating physical activity are well done. The way Doug Garbark uses vivid color brings attention to the ever changing backgrounds and surroundings of the story. Details such as the choices of hues to emit a certain emotion through the character’s eyes, and brightened skin tones illuminated by stage lights to highlight the physicality of the wrestlers make the color choices seem very fitting.
Also check out the continuation of The New Day’s time travel adventure hilariously written by Ross Thibodeaux (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2016 Annual) and perfectly drawn over the top by Rob Guillory (Chew). It’s shorter, but comical, and worth 5 minutes of your time. Again, someone must be a fan or went back and watched loads of WWE footage. Each member of The New Day is properly represented each in their own special ridiculousness.
If you are not a current WWE fan, reading the one-shot from last November is necessary. It provides background of The Shield and destruction of the faction. Also, it’s just damn good to read and look at. As a hardcore wrestling and comic book fan, spending my money on a kayfabe WWE comic after already loving the one-shot was one of the easiest decisions this week. It is all-ages friendly, even with all the punches, suplexes, and knees to the face (at least no violence a child wouldn’t already see on the televised shows). The ending set up some good major conflict for issues to come. I’m interested in seeing how far they stick with Rollins’ story arc, and when/if they will jump to a new wrestler. Both the one-shot and issue #1 have been remarkable. There are other WWE comics, but these monthly releases will prove to be the most remarkable.