After focusing almost exclusively on Seth Rollins’ redemption story, issue #5 of WWE takes a look at the third former member of The Shield. The regular guy. The blue jeans guy. The guy whose never-say-die attitude is his greatest asset, and has earned him the nickname of the lunatic fringe: Dean Ambrose.
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Serg Acuña
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
This issue is narrated by Dean Ambrose himself, which makes it a fun read given how interesting of a character Dean is. Writer Dennis Hopeless has a great handle on Ambrose the character, and since Ambrose is a bit more (okay, a lot more) eccentric and unique than someone like Seth or Roman, it leaves endless possibilities for where the story could end up. This issue is largely an introduction to the character and his conflict with the Beast, but it ends in such a way that issue #6 can’t come soon enough.
It’s nice to break away from Rollins for a bit. Don’t get me wrong, his story has been executed pretty much perfectly for the past four issues, as Hopeless masterfully blends what actually happened on TV with supplemental material to help make it make more sense (take note, WWE writers). But there’s more than one character in WWE, and frankly, a lot of them are more interesting than the Architect. We do briefly check in with him though, as Ambrose is in the arena when Rollins makes his triumphant return to sneak attack Roman Reigns in last issue. And with Money in the Bank coming up and Dean’s eyes on the prize, I have a feeling the incumbent WWE Champion should watch his back…
One of the most exciting parts of the issue though, as alluded to on the cover, is Sasha Banks making her debut! The Boss gets into a scuffle backstage with Charlotte Flair, and gets help from Ambrose to even the score. She owes Dean one, and without spoiling it, she looks to repay the favor as soon as possible. Sasha is one of my favorite wrestlers in all of WWE, so it’s a delight to see her involved in the comic book’s storyline. I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Once again Serg Acuña’s artwork continues to bring the wacky world of WWE to life perfectly. Characters look like their real-life counterparts, but all have a certain attitude that’s become a trademark of the series. Ambrose, Lesnar, and Banks all look great here, and when the action kicks in, that’s rendered great as well. Ambrose and Lesnar’s junkyard brawl in particular was drawn very well and has a way of imbuing the anger from the characters right on the page.
As is custom for this series, there are also a number of variant covers that span the rich history of WWE. This time we get a nice John Cena cover from Jamal Campbell, a surprisingly timely retro Goldust cover from Marco D’Alfonso, an Asuka action figure variant from Adam Riches, and the never ending Royal Rumble scene continues from Brent Schoonover with Sting, Chris Jericho, Ricky Steamboat, Mark Henry and Vader entering the fray–check our preview for all the covers.
There is a backup as well, this time part four of the “New Day’s Optimistic Odyssey.” Written by Ross Thibodeaux and drawn by Rob Guillory, it continues to be charming, but there wasn’t really much to chew on this time around.
Is It Good?
Once again Hopeless and Acuña knock it out of the park with WWE #5. With a masterful handle on the characters, kinetic artwork, and writing that even manages to improve what we see on TV, this may be the best comic based on a licensed property I’ve ever read.