Liam Hoofe reviews Boom! Studios’ WWE#13…
Like the recent Royal Rumble Special, the first thing you will notice about WWE #13, the latest in Boom! Studios’ WWE series is that a superstar’s name is listed on the front cover. Following in AJ Styles’ footsteps, Samoa Joe has penned a story about his own debut in the WWE and Joe has shown he is more than a match for AJ in the old writing department. This edition of the comics gives the reader a break from the usual Shield storyline and decides instead to focus on several memorable moments from Raw’s history, to celebrate the show’s upcoming 25th anniversary.
Joe’s story, Undrafted, is a nice way to kick things off and Joe’s writing, alongside that of Michael Kingston, does a great job of capturing the former NXT champion’s character and general presence. The story sees Mick Foley trying to convince Joe to join his Raw brand, while Joe warns Foley that, if he interrupts his feud with Nakamura in NXT, then he will wreak havoc on the main roster. The writing here is great and does what these comics should do – extend the wrestler’s in-ring persona and make it even more dramatic. Reading the comic, you are reminded of what a dominant force Joe is and it gets you excited to see him in the ring again. The final reveal, that Joe is at dinner with Triple H, is nicely executed as well, and a good way of explaining, from a kayfabe perspective, Joe’s real-life main roster debut. I’ve enjoyed both Joe and AJ’s work in these comics, and hopefully, we will see more from them, and other superstars, in the future.
The second story is also a great read – ‘The YES! Movement’, is only a short piece, but it does an excellent job at capturing the atmosphere of one of the company’s most iconic moments in recent history. The dialogue is kept to a minimum here, with artist Rodrigo Lorenzo continuing to impress with his depictions of Daniel Bryan and the crowd- his in-ring drawings do a great job of capturing the energy of the movement and his depiction of Bryan is impressive. Lorenzo has been one of the most consistent artists in recent comics, so here’s hoping we continue to see more of him in the future.
Unbroken, the third story in the comic, tells the story of Jeff Hardy’s famous ladder match against The Undertaker on Raw. Of all the stories in the book, this was the one I found to be the weakest. The artist’s approach to the work was more of a distraction than anything else, and while Jeff was supposed to be written as a plucky underdog, he actually just comes across as a hyperactive little kid who got to play with the big boys.
The final piece focuses on the most recent event in the comic, The Festival of Friendship. The piece, entitled ‘Fest Prep’ is a fast-paced enjoyable read that adds a little more to the story of the festival. We see Jericho running around, frantically trying to get all of the gifts for Kevin, while also managing to drop several of his famous catchphrases along the way. It’s an enjoyable little read that adds a little more to one of the best moments in recent years. The artwork from Daniel Bayliss is, once again, excellent, while the writing is confident and at times, pretty damn funny as well.
On the whole, WWE #13 is a nice break from the on-going Shield saga and a fitting tribute to Monday Night Raw as it approaches its 25th Anniversary. Samoa Joe impresses in the book’s opening tale, and there is some excellent artwork peppered throughout the collection.
Liam Hoofe –@liamhoofe