Dennis Hopeless is boldly telling stories WWE can’t or won’t tell on television, and it’s must-read stuff for wrestling fans.
In issue #7, the BOOM! Studios’ WWE series goes to a place that seems tailor made for comic books: The Wyatt Family Compound. Bray Wyatt and his followers are straight out of any number of horror comics, so following our current protagonists–Dean Ambrose and Sasha Banks–into the back woods cult’s base of operations has had me intrigued since Wyatt was first unveiled a few issues ago.
After their scuffle with Brock Lesnar last issue, Dean and Sasha are on the road. The two encounter every horror story trope you can think of: run-down diner, spooky gas station, the works. When Ambrose’s truck needs a refuel, they have no choice but to stop. From there, Sasha gets kidnapped by the deranged Wyatt Family and taken back to the Compound for some persuasion. Once Sasha meets face to face with the New Face of Fear, Wyatt himself, a mutually beneficial deal is proffered.
It’s up to Ambrose to save the day, but it’s very unlikely we’ve seen the last of the Wyatts. For a couple issues I was unsure where this series was going, as it was beginning to venture into uncharted territory, but now I’m very grateful it did. The series’ original claim to fame was that it did stories WWE presented on television better. Now it’s adeptly telling stories WWE wouldn’t dare tell on TV, either because it doesn’t fit the format or because they just don’t have long term, intertwined storytelling in mind for their weekly wrestling programs.
The feel and overall personality of the characters are spot on, save Sasha, who felt a bit off–surprisingly so, since Dennis Hopeless has done a great job for the most part making these characters feel exactly like their TV counterparts. It’s weird enough that Sasha Banks and Dean Ambrose are buddy buddy seemingly out of nowhere, but it’s made even weirder when Sasha says things I can’t ever picture her saying.
Prime example. Who is this "me" Sasha is talking about? She’s only familiar with "MIA!"
Bray Wyatt, however, is written just about perfectly. You read every word in his voice, complete with his signature inflections. Seeing the Wyatt Family Compound in comic book form is a real treat, and thankfully Hopeless writes the Eater of Worlds with far more gravitas than they do on Monday Night Raw.
All of this would fall flat if it weren’t for good artwork, and thankfully Serg Acuna (with an assist by Tim Lattie in the later pages) continues to kill it on this comic. The Wyatt Family Compound looks great, and Doug Garbark’s coloring helps make it truly memorable, with grim bleakness juxtaposed with Sasha’s bright hair.
Is it good?
Bray Wyatt is a dead ringer for a comic book villain, and so far his arc as an antagonist in BOOM!’s WWE series is off to a great start. Wyatt, his followers, and the compound are appropriately creepy, both in artwork and writing, and provide the beginning of what should be a fun arc. The issue stands on its own as a fun caper, too. Dennis Hopeless is boldly telling stories WWE can’t or won’t tell on television, and it’s must-read stuff for wrestling fans.