Thursday, March 25, 2010

WrestleMania Week - Comic Book Review: WWE Heroes #1 By Titan Publishing

No sane person who saw the listing for WWE Heroes in Previews a few months back thought it was going to be anything other than a shabbily produced tie-in designed to milk a few extra bucks out of the lowest common denominator.

I was excited, though. I thought there was a good possibility the comic would be bad enough to be worth reviewing, giving me a day’s worth of content in the near future. I am happy to say that WWE Heroes is so fucking bad – one of the most inept and ludicrous comics I have ever read – that it may well warrant a monthly column.
Let’s start with the story. I have to admit that when I first read a synopsis of the plot, I thought it was actually a bit clever and possibly the only way you could make an interesting comic with WWE on the cover. Here’s how I interpreted the initial description: Today’s matches in WWE are actually influenced by battles that have occurred throughout history. The strength of certain heroes and villains and the scale of their conflicts have resounded so strongly that they have transcended their place in time and are being felt - for reasons I assumed could be explained over the course of the series – by the Superstars in WWE, creating rivalries and fights that mirror the past. It seemed like it could be sort of a reincarnation plot – kind of like Hawkman and Hawkgirl – that would easily sustain a long-term comic book. Maybe a little far-fetched, even for comics, but I think you could probably sell it.

Here’s the real deal: Two warriors who seem to be brothers have been battling for centuries. The Firstborn (the babyface warrior) beats the King of Shadows (the heel warrior) almost every time, including the first battle we see where they both look like Conan. King of Shadows’ face gets burned in that fight. This would lead you to believe we are seeing Undertaker and Kane in past lives, right? Especially considering a fight between the Brothers of Destruction is depicted on the same page, right? El wrongo! I think. Maybe.

Over the course of the comic, we see the two entities battle throughout history. From the first battle in the stone age to the War of Northern Aggression to World War II, they face each other time and time again. There is even a medieval conflict where they are fighting zombies and jaguar men with no explanation whatsoever. I am not kidding. It’s almost as if the author believes this happened all the time. Random hordes of undead and cat people wandering around Europe, just looking for trouble. What really sucks about this is that you never see John Cena fight the zombies. Or the jaguar people. IT’S RIGHT THERE ON THE FUCKING COVER! Cena, ‘Taker and HHH fighting off unending hordes of these things. I hate it when comic book covers do that. Of course, I hate it more when comic books suck donkey balls out loud.

What is totally and completely awesome, however, is that scenes of confrontation between WWE Superstars are inserted seemingly at random between panels of the historical (hysterical?) conflicts. You know that they are WWE Superstars because they are identified through dialogue, not because of the art. There are a few who are so iconic you can’t really mess them up, like Undertaker, Kane and Cena; but the comic is filled with wrestlers that I can’t readily identify. Oh, wait. Did I just say you couldn’t mess up Undertaker? I guess you could if you did something really insane like, I don’t know, FORGET HIS TATTOOS.

As a matter of fact, there is not a tattoo to be seen in all of WWE Heroes, despite the appearance of such heavily-inked grapplers as ‘Taker, Randy Orton (who actually appears to be fighting himself in one panel),

Edge and Batista. Every once in a while the characters don’t even have nipples. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that sometimes they do. Maybe their nipples retract when they are being possessed by Firstborn or King of Shadows. I don’t know.

While the narrative involving the two ancient warrior brother entities (or whatever) is fairly consistent and linear, the WWE stuff is a little hard to follow. The randomly inserted panels jump back and forth between Superstars, with no connection whatsoever. Just random encounters that vaguely reflect what’s going on with the two main characters.

Oh, there’s also something about people in a burning church (!) who worship the King of Shadows and are led by a priest who appears to be Christopher Daniels. He is immediately killed by the evil brother for being a dipshit, but that’s okay because he is brought back to life by his cruel master at the end of the book so he can take his goons and – get ready – (SPOILER ALERT!) attend WrestleMania and assassinate whoever it is they decided is the reincarnation (or whatever) of the Firstborn! With futuristic machine guns!

AXE COP (which you should totally be following) makes more sense than this ridiculous horseshit.

As you can see from the pages I’ve thoughtfully included, the art is shit. Many of the wrestlers are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Several do not seem to resemble anybody currently employed by WWE, but it doesn’t matter because they are so generic. The artist seems to utilize the exact same “Huge Musclehead” physique for every character, with the only differences being in the wardrobe and hair. As I noted above, zero effort was made to represent tattoos; even the Superstar’s gear is unadorned for the most part. The most noticeable design is the one on the HHH character’s trunks. And it is nothing HHH has ever worn in his life. The fucking jaguar people are more detailed than the wrestlers. Hell, the parishioners in the burning church had more individual distinctions.

The only thing that would make WWE Heroes an acceptable purchase for the average consumer would be if WWE had held a contest for fans to create this comic. And the contest had an age limit of six. And the proceeds went to charity to help differently-abled kids with cancer. On their faces.

There is a message here, though, and apparently it is this:

Slavery. Is. Wrong. Brother.

I really, really hope WWE Heroes doesn’t get cancelled. I’m dying to see where this is headed.

In short, WWE Heroes is a complete fucking disaster on every level. The story is an addled mess, the artwork is ugly and incompetent, not fit for the back of a cereal box. Much like Land of the Lost (which the wife and I watched the other night and I won’t do a review for because it just sucked in such an uninteresting way), this comic is too graphic and coarse for kids (ironic, what with WWE being so PG-centric nowadays) and too fucking idiotic for adults. I suppose with the generally sub-par writing on WWE’s signature product – television – one certainly shouldn’t expect a secondary medium to be any better. Thankfully, Heroes sucks in a batshit insane way rather than the mediocre one the shows do. Therefore it receives a dubious:

Bizarro 4 out of 5 Lovingly Rendered Jaguar Men

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