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Throwing in the Towel; Comic Book Review: WWE Heroes #1

March 12, 2010   ·   0 Comments

By Michael CampbellWWECOMICS1

WWE Heroes comic #1
Titan Publishing
-Writer: Keith Champagne
-Artist: Andy Smith
-Newsstand cover artist:Andy Smith (cover A)
-Alternatecover artist:Liam Sharp(cover B)
32 pages, full colour, on sale March 23rd

Welcome to another Throwing in the Towel column, and one that quite obviously, is a departure from what this writer would usually be seen discussing. This time around, I’m casting my wary eye upon the first issue of Titan Comics WWE Heroes series, a new on-going comic book that “takes the biggest WWE superstars and Divas beyond the spotlight of the squared circle and into a brand new fictional universe.

Wrestling and comic books have an erm, ropey history. Traditionally, the grap-game has not lent itself to the creation of comics with great artistic merit. Weve witnessed some true stinkers, such as the abysmal episodes featuring Chyna, The Undertaker, and Mankind, during the attitude eras that were published by Chaos comics. These were brash, big, and ultimately completely empty experiences aimed at the easily captivated teen market that also went barmy for Holographic foil covers. An Image Comic featuring Kevin Nash, imaginatively titled, Nash is somewhat more fondly remembered, but generally with the same sarcastic slant that affects some fans memories of Sid matches. Better yet, was the WWF: BattleMania series, inflicted upon us by Valiant. I say inflicted, but even I recall the ludicrous series with great fondness, as it delivered several nutty editions, and provided us with some accurate and dynamic superstar depictions from Steve Ditko (yep…. Steve Spiderman Ditko).

Titan Publishings latest addition to the cannon has been complimented by a wave of pre-release publicity, as the company will coincide their debut with Wrestlemania 26. A smart strategy, theyve also recruited veteran artist Liam Sharp as a cover artist for the first issue, and he contributes a rather nifty painted alternative edition. Andy Smiths newsstand cover meanwhile, is more in-tune with the interiors, and showcases The Game, John Cena, and The Undertaker in a ridiculous battle with some demonic chaps. If thats the sort of shenanigans that youre inclined to be tempted by- then youll know what to expect from this effort.
The inaugural issue of the series sets the scene, with a plot involving a hokey ancient rivalry between The Shadow King, and his brother, the Firstborn. In the modern day, The Shadow King is still loafing around, and has some undercover fellows working for the WWE, seemingly attempting to discover who the current incarnation of his sibling is, amongst the WWE roster. Cue a non-stop assortment of fight scenes, as the characters are introduced, and the tone of the series is set. Its not the most subtle or sophisticated of plots, but it does allow for Champagne to script a series of battle scenes from various historic periods for Andy Smith to play with. By the end of the first issue, its pretty much established that the key players in the big upcoming revelation are going to be The Undertaker and Trips.
Andy Smith meanwhile, is an old pro…and while his work here isnt going to appeal to those who have Mike Mignola portfolios on their bookshelves, it really isnt supposed to. Like many licensed comic projects, a degree of detail and artistic ambition is tempered somewhat, in order to accommodate decent likenesses of the grapplers, and a clean, flowing storytelling style. That artistic compromise pretty much sums up the venture too. If the art is too simple, blocky, or basic for you- then this probably isnt a series worth investing in. Instead, its clearly aimed at the teenage (and pre-teen) market, which is emotionally invested in the WWE stars, and will happily follow them across many mediums. These days, the comic format gets a rough ride amidst a generation who are extremely familiar with high-tech gaming from a young age; however, this latest publication has as much a chance as any of succeeding based on this evidence. Essentially, its a loud, swift, and easy read, that will probably hook that audience with its enthusiastic, over-the-top tone.

WWE Heroes is no Head-locked (the ground-breaking series penned by Michael Kingston), but nor is intended to be. While more akin to the wacky Rob Liefeld styled Ultimate Warrior series (which was truly utterly demented), its unquestionably a notch above that title, and it certainly has the potential to capture the attention of its intended audience. The same cannot be said of the more discerning, older reader, but then again, isnt that the WWE in general right now? In that respect, in the current PG era, this couldnt have been timed any better.

Thanks for taking the time to check this out. I welcome any and all feedback and I can be contacted on Facebook, or simply by emailing me at bazilalfonso@hotmail.com I look forward to hearing from you, and will be back soon!


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