Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Serg Acuña
Release Date: 22nd March 2017


After watching the gradual rise of Seth Rollins from prospect to champion following his betrayal of his Shield brothers, the latest issue of BOOM! Studios’ ongoing WWE series deals with the less glamorous side of his story.  Namely, his rehab and recovery following his potentially career-ending knee injury.

While any WWE fan worth their salt will know exactly how it all ends up for Seth, it’s interesting to have this rehab portion of his career fleshed out, and his inner monologue throughout – not to mention the humorous asides provided by his telephone conversations with his mother and desire to become a master at his drumming video game – really adds some much-needed depth to the character.  The New Day appearance feels more than a little forced, and detracts a little from Seth’s story, but I suppose this kind of product/character placement is always likely to happen in licensed properties.

Probably the strongest aspect of the series so far is the artwork of Serg Acuña, whose lively, cartoony pencils makes this feel like the brand new WWE animated series we’re all waiting for (right?).  The characters are all instantly recognisable, even the shoehorned-in cameos, and Acuña does an impressive job injecting the proceedings with a sense of energy throughout, even when it’s just a wheelchair-bound Seth playing the drums in his apartment.

The issue also features an enjoyable backup story with Finn Balor slaying a demon to steal his powers, with the whole thing narrated in a rhyming prose style like an old Irish poem or folk tale.  Once again Acuña handles the artwork, with Tini Howard on writing duties, and while it may drift a little too far into the realms of fantasy and kayfabe for some tastes, it still provides an enjoyable enough conclusion to what is a solid issue.

Again, it’s probably worth pointing out that it’s fairly unlikely that this series is going to appeal to anyone other than existing WWE fans, as there isn’t quite enough substance here to reel in new readers.  That said, for those of us who are already familiar with the whole Seth Rollins saga, this adds a lot of interesting behind the scenes flavour to what was already a pretty interesting storyline.  And while it definitely showcases both the good and bad side of licensed properties, this is still a hell of a lot of fun, and a highly recommended purchase for WWE-inclined comic book fans.

Rating: 3.5/5.


PREVIEW ARTWORK
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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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