I was genuinely shocked by this issue! Not just by what happens inside, but by how much better it was than issue #1. Of course, just telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end was enough to surpass #1, so the standard was pretty low.
Josiah and the servants of the Shadow King have taken Wrestlemania hostage. The stadium is wired with explosives at every exit. Josiah demands that the Shadow Kingís immortal adversary, the Firstborn, reveal himself, or else everyone dies. He backs up his threats by killing Chris Jericho! Triple H then steps forward as the reincarnation of Shadow Kingís enemy, the heroic Firstborn! Josiah forces Triple H and Undertaker to fight to the death. When Triple H refuses, Josiah kills him!
Itís been my understanding than when a comic book features real people, those people have a strong voice in how theyíre presented in the comic. I canít see Jericho approving of a series where he dies in the second issue. Maybe the individual wrestlers have no say in how theyíre presented in the series. Still, Jerichoís death was a genuine surprise. It felt like they killed a real person. It also served the plot by demonstrating the cruelty of the villains. It was also presented quite well too. Jericho is taken behind a curtain. We hear the sound of skin being torn. Then a panel of silence. Itís done simply, but effectively, and better than most superhero deaths. Emotional moments like that keep me reading comics.
Sadly, the rest of the comic doesnít equal that one scene. The artwork is still boring. Wrestlers look like they have the same body with different heads. Batista and Undertaker are missing their famous tattoos. The two fight scenes are stiff and short. And the overall plot of immortals fighting each other through these pro wrestlers detracts from the storyís enjoyment. Without those immortals, we have a story of terrorists attacking Wrestlemania. That alone would make for a great story! And itís the kind of simple, patriotic, good vs. evil plotline so common to WWE. The Firstborn and Shadow King rivalry adds an element of fantasy that just doesnít fit into the WWE universe. Yes, there are wrestlers like the Undertaker and Kane who act like they have supernatural powers. But even they donít expect fans to believe theyíre really magic. Thereís no way I can suspend enough disbelief to believe Wrestlemania is the battleground for mystic forces.
I think weíve just seen the highpoint of the series. Triple H will surely come back to life next issue, and ultimately battle the Shadow King in a final showdown. Itís also implied here that the Shadow King will raise an army of zombies. Because we havenít seen enough comics with zombies for the last 5 years!
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!