The WWE is no stranger to the world of comics, but previous attempts to bring WWE wrestlers to the page have relied on an influx of fantasy elements rather than focusing on the heightened drama that is built into WWE’s DNA. Having newly secured the WWE license, BOOM! Studios is changing the WWE comics trend, primarily focusing on plots that could feasibly unfold in the WWE television shows.
There’s still an element of exaggeration because it would be a waste to tell totally realistic wrestling narratives when there are so many opportunities for over-the-top spectacle in comics, and this week’s WWE: Then. Now. Forever one-shot spotlights the range of the WWE brand with four stories that take very different approaches. The main story by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Dan Mora spotlights Seth Rollins’ betrayal of his brothers in The Shield; Rob Schamberger delivers a beautifully painted, inspirational Sasha Banks tale; Derek Fridolfs channels Popeye’s aesthetic for a Tugboat comic strip; and The New Day gets thrown into a cartoonish comedy thanks to writer Ross Thibodeaux and artist Rob Guillory.
This exclusive preview of The New Day’s story highlights how BOOM! is embracing different narrative and visual styles for their WWE project, and the zaniness of this preview is just a tease of what Thibodeaux and Guillory have in store for readers. They deliver the most overtly fantastic narrative (time travel eventually comes into play), and Thibodeaux has devised a script that allows Guillory to show off the sharp comedy skills he’s honed over 60 issues of Chew. WWE fans can discover more when WWE: Then. Now. Forever. goes on sale in print and digitally on Wednesday, but this strong creative lineup also makes this one-shot an appealing purchase for anyone curious about the WWE’s popularity.