WWE Summer Slam 2017 Special
Writers: Box Brown, Ryan Ferrier, Ross Thibodeaux, Derek Fridolfs, Aaron Gillespie
Artists: Daniel Bayliss, Clay McCormack, Rob Guillory, Derek Fridolfs, Selina Espiritu
Colorists: Dee Cunniffe, Taylor Wells, Fred Stresing, Jeremy Lawson
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios

A review by Greg Brothers

A few months ago, I wrote a review for the kick off of WWE’s new comic book WWE: Then, Now, Forever. Since then I have not had a chance to check out the series, but I figured WWE Summer Slam 2017 Special was as good a time as any to revisit the title!

Much like the initial issue, WWE Summer Slam 2017 Special consists of several different stories, this time all focused around the traditional WWE Summer staple: Summer Slam. Each vignette has a different team of writers and artists, so it makes for some clear differences in the feel of each story.

The opening story, I Wined and Dine with Kings and Queens, focuses on fan favorite and common man Dusty Rhodes, as he prepared to take on the Macho King Randy Savage. While the match was the groundwork, the focus of this story was on the fans and the connections many of them feel toward certain wrestlers. The art of this short story is very realistic, with the rendering of Rhodes and Savage identical to what they looked like when the match took place twenty some years ago. Bayliss is able to match the bright and bold colors that were common for the WWE product at the time, while grounding the action in reality. The issue I had with this one was the storytelling. The story was too short for starters. I do not know if this was the writer’s choice or was a mandate from the editors, but either way the story lacked any build up. It was centered around fans cheering for who they like and idolize, but we do not see that connection explored at all. As the first story to kick off the whole issue, there needed to be more meat to the plot to get readers engaged for the rest of the book.

In comparison, the second story, In the Mandible of Madness, is exactly the opposite as far as making me care about the story and the characters. As a reader, we are treated to the preparation of The Undertaker and the unhinged Mankind as they ramp up to what should be the end of a long-running feud. Mankind’s thoughts and feelings are laid out, allowing the ready to infer why he acts the way he does in and out of the ring. The “voices” create a dialogue that does not feel forced and allows for the characters to grow and develop. McCormack and Cunniffe’s art is outstanding throughout this short story. It is dark and gritty, and fits the feel of the match completely. You get the idea of how violent and hard these two fought each other in their matches. By far this was my favorite of the five stories.

The third story is just a continuation of the universe bending tale of The New Day, trying to find the power of positivity again. The art here really fits the story: cartoony, over the top, and features a dancing unicorn!

WWE’s long and rich history does create some problems for the reader. If you are not a fan of the WWE, then certain details and nuisances within WWE Summer Slam 2017 Special may be lost on you. The artwork throughout is wonderful though and it fits with each story perfectly. It is obvious when you transition from one story to the next, not only because of the nifty title changes, but also because of the distinctive styles of the artwork. 

Check it out!
If you are a longtime fan of the WWE, then WWE Summer Slam 2017 Special is a book that you want to grab. It will bring you back to some of the most iconic points in WWE history, while spinning an entertaining yarn. If you are not a fan of the product, you might find a couple of the stories interesting, but the finer details will go over your head, taking a bit away from the experience. 

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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