Last issue, WWE took an interesting turn. The first arc focused solely on Seth Rollins–his rise to the WWE Championship, his injury-caused fall from grace, and his quest for redemption. We’re now focusing on another Shield brother, Dean Ambrose, but while Rollins’ story for the most part closely mirrored what we saw on TV, Ambrose’s has already gone in a wholly unexpected direction in one issue: Deano’s formed an alliance of sorts with The Boss, Sasha Banks. I’d have to imagine these two have been ‘shipped on Tumblr blogs throughout the internet for years, but here’s your chance to see writer Dennis Hopeless’ take.
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Serg Acuña
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
I mean it–a large chunk of this issue is essentially Dean Ambrose and Sasha Banks seemingly on a date. An unorthodox date, mind you (would you expect any less from the Lunatic Fringe?), but it’s sort of jarring how Dean and Sasha went from having nearly no relationship to gallivanting about town to a club, a carnival and even a demolition derby. It’s intriguing, and a nice change of pace, but it feels unearned and pretty out of nowhere. Time will tell if this relationship between the two goes anywhere or if it’s simply a way to intertwine Amrbose’s foibles with Sasha’s Charlotte woes.
As far as their chemistry, it teeters romcom trope territory, whether their relationship is meant to be romantic or not (I’m honestly not sure). Sasha likes to dance, Dean stands on the sidelines! Dean loves eating BBQ, Sasha thinks it’s gross! But each find something to like about the others’ suggestions, and in the end they gain a newfound respect for each other. D’aww.
Not a whole hell of a lot happens plot wise, though. I am an unabashed Sasha Banks mark, and I like Dean Ambrose as much as the next guy, but the pairing feels almost unnatural, mostly because there was very little prelude to it. Dean and Sasha spend most of the time bonding, which is just kind of strange to imagine, let alone see. The issue ends on a cliffhanger, though, that implies we’ll be seeing a fresh face in WWE‘s storyline very soon. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say it’s a character tailor made for comic books and I really hope they use this opportunity to flesh out said character’s backstory as much as possible. That alone makes next issue a must buy already.
Serg Acuña’s artwork continues to impress, though this is I think the first time I noticed the actual wrestling being represented incorrectly. In one panel, Ambrose locks in a crossface on Sami Zayn, and then wins…via the ref counting 1, 2, 3. That’s not how submissions work, never mind the fact that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Ambrose win a match with a crossface. Not a huge deal by any stretch, but noteworthy since up until now the actual wrestling has been portrayed with perfect accuracy.
Otherwise, characters look great and the action both inside and outside the ring is kinetic. This series has really come into its own style artistically and I’m always excited to see new wrestlers pop up in the story to see how they’ll look drawn on the page.
It’s got a unique take on established characters and a pleasant pacing that’s different from anything else in the series. The main conceit feels rather unearned and out of left field, but it’s a fascinating pairing that makes for some situations that are fun to read.