Review: WWE WrestleMania 2017 Special

Rather than the normal fare for BOOM! Studio’s WWE comics, this special for WrestleMania is a collection of short stories of one of the biggest events in sports entertainment. Each has a different creative team and tells a different tale of the show of shows. All lettering throughout the issue is by Jim Campbell, who matches well with the style of each story presented.

The first, “Ladder Match”, isn’t a favorite and it’s honestly disappointing. Telling the story of Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon’s historic ladder match for the undisputed Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania X in 1994, this should have been a cakewalk. The match itself was full of great classic action and memorable spots with a great story to lead in: Shawn Michaels wasn’t able to defend the title in the required 30 days and was stripped of the title only to return later and claim to still be champion and this match would settle things once and for all. Technically, the story hits hits on all these points but writer Box Brown presents it in such an absurd way that the whole affair loses the weight the actual match had. The art and colors of Jorge Corona and Gabriel Cassata respectively captures the larger than life personalities but I had trouble connecting the actual superstars with the art.

WWE_Wrestlemania2017_001_PRESS_7“The Long Con” is a great palate cleanser after this disappointment, however. Just like in the ongoing WWE series, Dennis Hopeless knows how to weave kayfabe and reality with a touch of creative license to make a story about wrestling that flows well. Speaking of, if you’re currently reading that ongoing, some moments may feel a little familiar from a certain scene with Triple H and Seth Rollins. The illustration and colors, while by Dan Mora and Joana Lafuente rather than the normal ongoing team, is a close mirror that makes the scene hit just that much harder. This story is about more than just Triple H vs Chris Jericho with Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania X8 for the undisputed World Heavyweight Championship; it’s about the beginning of what would become the Authority and the long con that leads there. And that’s what wrestling should always be about in the end.

“The New Day’s Optimistic Odyssey Part Three” picks from WWE backfill and WWE: Then, Now, Forever with the former tag champs traveling through time to spread the power of positivity. However, all is not well with unicorn magic and the New Day must fight to defend it. This continues to be as weird and referential as the New Day themselves with the team of Ross Thibodeaux, Rob Guillory, and Taylor Wells. If you’ve been liking this weirdness so far, you’ll like this next installment.

“You’re Good But…” is the tale of Daniel Bryan, beloved indie darling and underdog and his struggles to be taken as a serious competitor throughout his career. Much like a lot of his career, this is a feel-good story with a happy ending once you make it through all the struggles. It all leads up to a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX.

“The Kevin Owens Comic” is another in which the story is about so much more than the match presented on the pages. This follows the tandem careers of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as they make their way through to the top of the indies and eventually into the developmental property NXT and WWE itself. They’ve been brothers and partners and have now become bitter enemies. Their matches and interactions against each other have all been memorable and the one from WrestleMania 32 is no different. They’re destined to fight forever.

This special is truly only worth picking up if you’re already invested in wrestling or BOOM!’s WWE comics. Unlike the WWE ongoing, this doesn’t give some of the necessary background to explain the action happening.

Story: Dennis Hopeless, Andy Belanger, Box Brown, Aubrey Sitterson, Ross Thibodeaux
Arti: Andy Belanger, Rob Guillory
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Pass, unless heavily invested already

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review