Superstars marks the newest foray into the comic book genre for WWE. While their previous efforts were met with little success, in essence, this offering has already succeeded where the others have failed because Mick Foley pens the script. The book reads like an episode of Monday Night Raw with several different story lines taking place within the noir landscape.
Everything revolves around the central conflict involving John Cena who has been framed for a crime he didn’t commit. All of the wrestlers still perform their signature trade, but it is their roles outside the ring that serves as the hook to the story. While the name McMahon looms over Titan City like a dark cloud, Randy Orton is the main antagonist looking to muscle his way into the District Attorney’s office. CM Punk is the revolutionary looking to take back the city, and Daniel Bryan is the loose cannon who won’t take NO for an answer.
The previous WWE comics are cheesy tales where the wrestlers came off as thoughtless imitations. Mick Foley’s talents shine through by bringing the wrestler’s real voices to the characters he’s developed. Triple H blackmailing John Cena is a great example of how everyone in this societal setting is portrayed in a way that falls in line with their world famous personas. The world he created is simple and well developed. Foley has worked extensively with everyone in the book so he is the best one to determine how his colleagues would respond to the issues at hand.
Alitha Martinez has worked on mainstream titles such as Batgirl and X-Men. The detail in her pencil work makes it easy to tell who everyone is except for Ryback. I’ll give her a pass on that one because Ryback is just a jacked bald guy with no real personality. The actions panels is where her work excels in this issue, as Ziggler being kicked into a wall looks pretty painful which will help the readers appreciate all of the body slamming shenanigans. Jay Jay Jackson’s colors fills Martinez’s art nicely and rounds out the imagery.
There are four different variant covers to choose from which resemble an iconic Marvel Comics cover. I went with the Mark Henry cover which pays homage to The Amazing Spider-Man #316 that shows Venom on top of a fallen Spider-Man. For $10.00 you can the buy limited edition Undertaker variant.
I’m a big supporter of Mick Foley stepping outside of his wheel house as a writer again because it is another creative outlet for him to display his talents. He is surrounded by a solid creative team that seems to be in sync with his vision of this sports entertainment fueled crime drama. This is a fun read if you are a wrestling fan, but this will not appeal to non-wrestling fans who visit their local comic shop every Wednesday. Much of the experience relies on you already knowing who the heels and babyfaces are which means it was written to appeal to wrestling fans first and everyone else second. This is not a bad idea by any stretch, but surprising since WWE is really pushing to be a brand of entertainment that appeals to everyone. It will be a tough sell to wrestling fans too because not all of them read comic books and they may forgo the drama on the page because the action in the ring is enough.
I would love to see Mick Foley work on more established titles such as Batman. He is a natural born story teller who can easily captivate your attention. Speaking as someone who has a lifelong passion for wrestling and comics, this is not a bad freshmen effort and I’ll stick around for a few more issues. Give it a shot. You may like it, or you may hate it, but it is worth giving Mick a chance.