The WWE series has excelled at taking stories already told on WWE television and fleshing them out so they make more sense and are more emotionally resonant, and supplementing these stories with all-new ones that take advantage of the medium and freedom afforded by it.
With the Bray Wyatt/Dean Ambrose/Sasha Banks story arc, however, the comic has veered into absurdist territory. Obviously, this is a comic book based on professional wrestling, so realism is not one of its goals, but much of this issue consists of an insane car chase involving haphazardly built monster trucks as Ambrose and Banks attempt to escape the Wyatt Family Compound. Also, Charlotte and Dana Brooke are chasing them for some reason. As are the New Day in a car with a unicorn horn on the front hood. Ditto Bayley, who also happens to be in the neighborhood, I guess. Ambrose even calls this sequence "some drooling psych ward fever dream," and it’s hard to disagree with him.
Thankfully, Bayley is so adorable and on-character in this, her BOOM! Studios debut, that you can’t help but smile. And by the time they finally get to the arena for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, the story seems to normalize a bit. The first half of the issue is just too wacky to get behind, but the second half reminds the reader what makes this series so good. Ambrose’s narration even tackles some of the questions every wrestling fan has about ladder matches, chiefly "Why is everybody always so slow getting up there?"
Wrestling fans know what happens next in this story, as Dean Ambrose cashes in on Seth Rollins that very night to take the title from his arch nemesis. The end of the issue teases "The Roman Empire" as the next arc, though, so looks like we’ll be shifting focus to the Big Dog, the final of the three Shield members to be the main focus of the series.
Overtly cartoonish car chase scene aside, this ends up being a pretty good issue. Bayley is perfect, Dean gets back on track and sets his sights on the Money in the Bank briefcase while still fending off Brock Lesnar, and Sasha gets some level of closure in her story arc, though her pairing with Dean Ambrose still seems strange.
The backup story, "The Gravest Mistake," is pretty cool as well. Written by Lan Pitts and drawn by Kelly Williams, "The Gravest Mistake" is a quick glimpse into The Undertaker and Paul Bearer’s plans for WWF domination in the early 90s. Some hints are dropped about Bearer’s nefarious actions that Undertaker isn’t privy to at this point that of course end up with the debut of Kane a few years later, which would make for a great story told in a comic book format. Hopefully WWE tells it one day.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of what actually happened in the car chase scene, the script was drawn expertly by Serg Acuna, who has been giving this series a unique look from the beginning. It is fun to see Acuna be able to draw locales that aren’t just wrestling rings or backstage areas, so in that sense the book is a success.
Is It Good?
While WWE #8 goes off the rails in the first half of the issue displaying an absurd car chase with several extremely convenient moments, the second half gets back on track with well written extensions of WWE characters and a fun backup story that will hopefully lead to more.