Last time, I discussed the first few issues of Chaos Comics’ Undertaker, as well as the specials that came from it. The Undertaker, Paul Bearer and a newly-created character the Embalmer each hold a Book of the Dead and are going to war over who can get all three Books and become the ruler of Stygian, Hell’s prison. Meanwhile, Kane is sneaking around, watching the Undertaker and Mankind is able to see that some of the wrestlers in the WWF are really demons in disguise.
Just for shits and giggles, for those of you reading who don’t follow wrestling or haven’t followed it for long, here’s a list of some of the Undertaker’s silliest storylines:
– Fought a nearly 8-foot-tall dude who wore a muscle suit with fur covering the shoulders and crotch. Their “epic” battle at Wrestlemania 9 ended with this big dude, Giant Gonzales, chloroforming the Undertaker. This got Undertaker a win via disqualification and they always have to sidestep this fact when they go over how the Undertaker is undefeated at Wrestlemania and show a highlight reel.
– A match was set for Survivor Series of Lex Luger and his patriotic American guys vs. Yokozuna and his evil foreigners. Due to a last-minute injury, they needed someone to step into Luger’s team. This spot was filled by the Undertaker, who proceeded to do a lengthy promo that compared his gimmick to what America is all about. He ended it by growling, “Let freedom RIIIIIIIING…” and opened up his jacket to reveal a 1776 American flag stitched on the inside. Lex Luger saw this and got way too pumped about it.
– Undertaker had a match against Yokozuna where you won by stuffing your opponent into a casket. Just about every bad guy in the WWF came out to help Yokozuna by ganging up on the Undertaker and shoving him in the casket. As the casket is wheeled away, the big screen above the entrance shows a camera inside the casket, where the Undertaker promises he will return. Then he (or Marty Janetty in an Undertaker costume) flies off into the heavens on strings.
– The Undertaker delivered a Dominos pizza to Leslie Neilson as part of the lead up for the Undertaker to fight his evil doppelganger.
– The Undertaker had a rematch against Yokozuna, this time with Chuck Norris there to make sure nobody interfered this time.
I can go on with this for days. To be fair, I do really love the Undertaker and he has had his share of kickass moments. Like that time Paul Bearer did an interview from the safety of his own home and Undertaker burst in, yelling, “Did you think I forgot where you live?!” and pummeled the everloving hell out of him. Then it cut to the arena’s locker room, many miles away as Kane went into a hysteric crying rampage and Mankind had to try and calm him down. That was neat.
Undertaker #4 begins with the Undertaker in a bar, waiting for his servant Lootan. It’s rather curious as the Undertaker hangs out in the exact same appearance as he’d use as a wrestler a year or so down the line.
Lootan is some kind of werewolf detective who had found out where Paul Bearer is situated. He and the Undertaker make plans to go after Paul shortly, but they are in a bar and this is an overly violent 90’s comic, so there has to be an obligatory bar fight sequence. A couple bikers figure Lootan is probably carrying a good amount of cash on him, so they confront him. This is an excuse for Lootan to go into his werewolf form and lash into them. Once done, they drive off to go kill Paul Bearer. Kane watches from an alley and wants to attack, but someone behind him tells him it isn’t the right time yet.
There is a scene in Hell where the Embalmer fights one of the Undertaker’s buddies in an attempt to show how tough Embalmer is supposed to be, but I don’t think anyone really cares. Undertaker sneaks up on a sleeping Paul Bearer and wakes him up. Paul feigns fear, but then gets out of bed and shows that he’s already fully dressed in a suit. A series of vines pop out of nowhere and grab the Undertaker.
Remember how in the previous issue, Paul had made a deal with a shadowy figure? No? Oh. Well, he did. And it was Lootan. He’s betrayed the Undertaker due to Paul being better at rewarding loyalty. He slashes at the Undertaker’s exposed torso over and over again, causing him to pass out from the pain.
Kane bursts in and throws Lootan out a window. Then he lights Paul on fire and sends him out too.
“Daddy doesn’t fly too well does he, Kane? Sigh. One less family member on the Christmas card list. But that’s ok…”
Yes, that’s right. A sister. Jezebelle. Or as Jim Ross would call her, “THAT DAMNED JEZEBELLE! DAMN HER!”
Elsewhere, the Embalmer finds out that Mankind is able to see all the demon wrestlers’ true forms. He figures this might throw a wrench in his plans, so he tells a couple of his demons to take him out. They find Mankind defacing a photo of Vince McMahon while talking about how things sure are different from the days of “that big, blonde, semi-bald-headed guy”. The two demons go after Mankind and he holds his own pretty well. He sprays them in the eyes with spray paint, clobbers them with chairs and drops a couple lockers on them.
Then they get back up and he realizes he’s in trouble. They beat on him for a bit and he gets knocked into a pile of filled water cooler jugs. He tricks them into coming after him again and does this.
I didn’t know they made water cooler jugs that weren’t plastic. Even then, I’m surprised at Mick Foley’s sudden Ben Grimm level of strength. Those bastards are heavy.
More demons show up and Mankind races away in panic.
Undertaker and Paul Bearer awaken to find themselves tied up. Kane and Jezebelle continually harm them based on what Undertaker’s done to Kane and what Paul has done to Jezebelle’s mother. Undertaker defends his actions by saying that “sacrifices needed to be made” and Paul shows that he has absolutely no idea who Jezebelle is. Flashback time!
It was 1976 in Texas. People were partying due to the bicentennial. Paul Bearer was there on business, feeding his face, when someone caught his eye.
Folks, I’m going to have to ask you to ready the bleach for your eyes. Right about…
AUGH! NO! NOOOO!
How could God allow the concept of Paul Bearer rape to exist? Revelations of atheism exist in that bare, rotund gut.
To make matters worse, Paul Bearer doesn’t remember Jez’s mom due to him being a serial rapist who does that like every other week. Now Kane’s “Katie Vick” story is starting to make sense. Perhaps it’s a biological thing.
Jez is more pissed because seven years later, her mother killed herself. Jez was just a reminder of what Paul did to her. Now she wants revenge.
This torture session is being watched by the Embalmer, who is enjoying it, but still wants the two Books of the Dead. If Paul and Undertaker are killed, that might destroy the Books too. He needs them to be brought to the graveyard that Undertaker uses to heal so he can begin a special ritual. Some demons appear before Jezebelle and Kane and teleport them all away.
Meanwhile, a bunch of demons have taken out Mankind. They’re ready for the kill, but one gets word from the Embalmer to bring Mankind to the graveyard so they can have a blood feast. Shortly after, we see this.
The Embalmer kind of forgets to keep everyone at his mercy, meaning that by the next issue’s beginning, nobody is chained up or knocked out. Mankind, Undertaker, Paul Bearer, Kane and Jezebelle are all fighting demons like there’s no tomorrow.
Lots and lots of fighting in this issue. Separate from the big melee, Undertaker faces the Embalmer. Embalmer commands some trees to grab Undertaker so he can steal his Book of the Dead. Paul sends an army of zombies to save Undertaker, so as not to give Embalmer the advantage.
Then those trucks from earlier show up and a group of WWF wrestlers pour out to fight the demons. Is it the Rock, here to layeth the smacketh down? Is it Stone Cold Steve Austin, here to arrive, raise Hell and leave? Is it D-Generation X? The Big Show? Ken Shamrock?
Nope. Just some Ministry of Darkness/Corporate Ministry grunts: Viscera, Farooq, Bradshaw, Mideon and the Big Boss Man. Good to see Boss Man and Undertaker getting along compared to the other time they crossed paths in comic form. To give some meaning to these guys helping out, a page is dedicated to a paragraph of explanation for each wrestler, as if it matters.
Ha! Okay, I know wrestling and comic books are both about suspending disbelief, but even then I can’t buy the idea of Bradshaw ever doing a jump kick.
These wrestlers barely show up past this panel and have no actual impact on the story. In fact, this is pretty much the last link to professional wrestling in this entire series. Once they leave with Mankind, Mick Foley’s role is finished. He didn’t really do anything of note in this comic and could have been omitted without a single snag.
This is about the time where writer Beau Smith remembers that Undertaker and Paul Bearer are back to working with each other in the WWF. Paul makes a deal with the Undertaker where they’ll join forces. He’ll give the Undertaker his Book of the Dead, they’ll take the third one from Embalmer and then Paul will be recognized as Undertaker’s second-in-command. It’s agreed by both parties.
Flab cannon… FIRE!
Undertaker gets all high and mighty about being 2/3 away from ruling Stygian, but the Embalmer telekinetically shoves a cross-shaped tombstone through Undertaker’s chest and impales him. That, according to the onlookers in the comic, kills him.
Embalmer defeats Paul Bearer’s army of zombies. Then Jezebelle tries to fight him herself. It’s rather odd when you realize that Jezebelle and Kane are really the heroes of the story. I guess. I mean, they’re there mostly for revenge, but Kane saved those kids in the Halloween issue and Jez tries to stop Embalmer because she feels he’s probably worse than the Undertaker. I just thought it was odd that you’d have to go down to fourth and fifth billing before you find anything resembling a good guy.
Embalmer’s response to Jez kicking him is, “Hey, free hot chick!” and tries to make her his bride. He uses her as a hostage so that Kane will be his obedient soldier. With that settled, he moves over to the Undertaker’s corpse so as to steal the two Books and make himself all-powerful.
Undertaker won’t even sell being impaled! Killing him has only caused him to merge with the power of the two Books, making him stronger than ever!
Embalmer teleports out of there, bringing Jezebelle and Kane with him. He still has an ace up his sleeve, as soon after he goes over to a laboratory where one of his followers has been creating the ultimate killing machine. No, not Superfly Snuka or Chris Benoit. Rather, SOULVEX! He’s a really big dude, powered by the flesh and souls of the darkest men to walk the earth. As he’s chained up and prepared for completion, you see that he’s got tubes in him that are connected to canisters labeled “JACK THE RIPPER”, “ADOLF HITLER” and “TED BUNDY”. Ted Bundy? Man, Undertaker’s already beaten King Kong Bundy. This should be cake.
Regardless, Soulvex is a soul-eater. Every soul he eats makes him stronger and he can never satiate his hunger. Soon he’ll be strong enough and hungry enough to beat the Undertaker.
There’s an entire issue dedicated to their fight, which is curious, considering the cover shows Undertaker and Mankind slugging it out. Mankind, like I mentioned earlier, doesn’t make a single appearance after the WWF midcard saves his bacon.
While this is going on, Embalmer tries to coax Jezebelle – or as he calls her, “prize” – into accepting him. This happens.
Look at all that spit. You know she was saving up for this moment.
He uses his hypno-powers on her to make her love him. She plays along with it, but later shows Kane that she’s immune to his powers… for some reason. Now she’s waiting for an opportune time to stab him in the face.
Undertaker goes to New York City to storm Embalmer’s building again, only this time there’s Soulvex on a rampage, tearing up the city and eating people’s souls. The two fight it out by hitting each other with cars and stuff. Plus great dialogue like this.
Soulvex proves too strong and enhances himself even further by devouring a group of police officers. Undertaker comes up with a plan – if you can really call it that – and lets Soulvex kick his ass. Soulvex tries to remove Undertaker’s soul from his body, but instead a blackness covers his hand and spreads all over his body. Undertaker points out that he has no soul to take so that happens.
I’m guessing he didn’t do that earlier since he wanted all those innocent people to die. Or maybe he was told that they needed to fill up an entire issue with street fighting, so pad it out.
Embalmer, Jez and Kane escape on a helicopter as Undertaker screams into the heavens, “Have fear as your mistress… for I am coming for you!”
The penultimate issue is a lot of filler as Embalmer puts together his wedding. He gets some demon druids to put the thing together and plans to kill them afterwards. That isn’t necessary, as they’re killed by Kane after one of them tries to rape Jezebelle. Outside, Undertaker and Paul Bearer rally a bunch of their demon followers to storm the chapel. Turns out Undertaker was able to track them by locking onto his blood connection with Kane and figuring it out from there.
As the issue ends and the finale begins, Undertaker busts into the church and goes after the Embalmer. All Hell breaks loose (pun not intended) and demons go at it all over. If anything, we get some of the best examples of the series’ art.
Undertaker overpowers the Embalmer and sidesteps his magic attacks. Then the Embalmer uses a special spell that gives him the power of “the Crimson Death”. As Paul tells it, he’s far more powerful and his power will grow the longer he remains on Earth. Undertaker needs all three Books of the Dead to stop him, so he’s proper fucked.
Paul knows of another way, but it involves the help of Kane and Jezebelle. Kane seems reluctant, but his half-sister calms him down and says that she’s done enough reading to know what Paul has planned. Undertaker takes one of Jez’s knives, which were used in the Crusades, and each one of them cuts themselves in a ritual fashion. Since they’re all linked by blood, it gives the holy knife the power needed to counter the Crimson Death.
Undertaker and Embalmer tangle, but Undertaker is able to stab him right in the chest.
Undertaker’s happy as he finally has all three volumes. It’s a false victory. Though Embalmer seems to be dying, he casts one last spell that causes a bunch of vortexes to open up in the church. The three books are sucked up and tossed across the planet. Kane and Jezebelle are tossed to the trailer park where they first met.
Undertaker and Paul Bearer find themselves in Tombstone, Arizona. Not only do they have to find the three Books again, but now they’ve lost their powers. It ends with the two of them walking down a desert highway with Paul complaining and Undertaker growing very, very annoyed.
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As we know, that was the end of that. No more WWF comics from Chaos. Whatever, it’s not like the WWF needed them. 2000 is arguably their most entertaining and successful year ever.
The WWE hasn’t dealt with comics since Chaos, but they have been dabbling with other mediums with projects that aren’t going anywhere. More specifically, there’s WWE Films. Wouldn’t you know it, they’re planning on doing a straight-to-DVD release about the Undertaker’s origins, taking place in the Wild West.
As much as I’d love to see Undertaker take on Mongo from Blazing Saddles, I think maybe it’s better if we leave the Undertaker’s aura unexplained. Else we get more Paul Bearer rape.