The nice thing about being a blogger is that it’s like a tax write-off on buying terrible shit. It’s great when you read a great comic, see an awesome movie, or something like that, but if you pay for something lame, you can always twist it into an article. It’s really one of the best perks.
I can’t not read WWE comics and I’ve filled up big chunks of this site proving that. The latest attempt at a WWE series is WWE Superstars by Papercutz. It’s been written by wrestling legend Mick Foley and Shane Riches. I imagine Shane Riches wrote most of it. Anyway, the first four issues were just released in a trade under the name Money in the Bank. I reviewed it here. The arc was about reimagining WWE wrestlers as characters in an overly-casted crime noir story. A cool idea that wore out its welcome.
The art was mostly done by Alitha Martinez, who did an all right job. Most of the time, wrestlers looked like who they were supposed to and some pieces looked really nice. Other times, the pencils were rushed, as was the need to get through the story, meaning fight scenes all had an unnatural flow to them. Then in the fourth issue, Martinez was replaced for four pages by an artist named Puste and oh boy was it noticeable. Lifeless, awkward, incoherent and ripe with inconsistency, it was a complete trip.
For some reason, Papercutz decided to have Puste be the main artist on the current arc, which has the wrestlers actually being wrestlers. It’s a weird storyline called Haze of Glory that features Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and Hornswoggle with a wicked hangover due to some spiked punch. The backstage area is in ruins, everyone blames them and they don’t know what in the hell happened. All they know is that they’ve been set up.
And yes, CM Punk is still a main character despite having been gone from the company since January.
I really can’t judge the wacky story on its own merits because the art is so distracting. Issue #6 alone has so many moments that make me shake my head that I’m able to make an actual top ten list out of it.
Let’s get started!
10) THE ATTEMPTED F5
Well. Lot of stuff going on here. Brock Lesnar is trying to F5 CM Punk and Goldust saves Punk with a kick to the nuts. Looks awkward, but okay.
Hornswoggle is bald here and that might make sense at first glance. After all, he recently lost a mask vs. hair match and for the past couple months he’s been bald in real life. Except in every single other panel he shows up in, he’s got a full head of hair. Remember, this comic is out of date enough that Jack Swagger calls Cesaro “Antonio” and CM Punk is there.
Puste seems to have a thing against drawing backgrounds most of the time, so for some reason the 4th of July is going off behind them. I don’t know.
9) CM PUNK CHOKES OUT MARK HENRY
A zombie CM Punk goes for Mark Henry’s brains and Henry seems almost happy about it.
He took out Cena too! You’ll… You’ll just have to take his word for it, okay? Punk certainly applies the sleeper an awful lot like the Anaconda Vise. Hm.
8) TRACED LUKE HARPER
Oh, I’m sure about half of the images in these comics are traced, but this one’s notable since it’s WWE’s stock Luke Harper photo.
7) BROCK’S MAGIC HAND
Blurring to suggest rapid movement or Brock Lesnar choosing to become one with CM Punk’s flesh, creating a Brother Lovecraftian nightmare the world has never seen?
Glad to see, “Straight edge that, Punk!” in the word bubble, just to prove that not all of the problems in WWE Superstars are art-based.
6) YOU’VE SEEN ONE WYATT, YOU’VE SEEN THEM ALL
Bray Wyatt and his followers attack the heroes and Wyatt is shown as wearing an orange shirt with a fedora. Sounds reasonable. He sets up Bryan for the Sister Abigail and…
BAM! Suddenly, he’s Luke Harper. You might think that doing the move would cause Wyatt’s hat to fly off. He’s even hatless in the next panel, where he’s still wearing Harper’s shirt. Then he’s back to wearing orange with a fedora, so I don’t even know.
5) AUTHORITY SHIFT
Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are all bugging the heroes to get to the bottom of what happened or else they’re fired. Punk goes to find where he left John Cena and Mark Henry, where he’s confronted by Vince McMahon and a camera man. Wackiness ensues and…
Suddenly it’s Triple H. At no point is it suggested or shown that both Vince and Triple H are there. They simply switch.
4) STOCK SHEAMUS
This image was even more blatant than the Luke Harper one from earlier. I immediately recognized the original.
But hey, sometimes you need to trace, right? It’s not like he used the same image over again. Especially not on the same fucking page.
I do love Randy’s, “Not this shit again…” expression.
3) CM PUNK KICKS… SOMEBODY
Yeah, take THAT, create-a-wrestler blank template! Eh… you aren’t even selling it, are you? It took me a while to figure this one out. Did he simply forget to draw Randy Orton’s tattoos and head stubble?
Then I finally got that it was supposed to be Cesaro, since he was holding Hornswoggle last we saw. Then again, if you go back to entry #10, you’ll notice that he also had a beard, those bands around his thighs and higher boots that were a completely different color and design.
It’s like a metaphor of WWE’s gradual removal of everything that made Cesaro unique and exciting.
2) NOOB TORITO
Daniel Bryan’s memories of what they were up to hours ago are the ravings of a madman, which include a talking gorilla, barbarians and fighting a Minotaur. In the boiler room, the group is confronted by a dark silhouette that appears to be a Minotaur, but is in fact El Torito. A good enough gag.
It would have been better had Puste gotten around to fucking drawing him!
For the first couple panels, it made sense that Torito was just a black outline with red eyes. You want to introduce him with a dramatic effect. Unfortunately, it’s not just the first couple panels. It’s every panel. I guess drawing a tiny man dressed as a bull is the hardest thing, as he’s pure silhouette in every shot. What in the hell?
That’s the same Goldust image from the Sister Abigail panel too.
1) THIS GROUP SHOT
Ah, where do I start? I guess I’ll just point out that all the weird stuff going on with Khali’s beard and hair is part of the plot. For real.
I notice Cesaro all the way on the right, back to being a complete blank slate of a human being.
It seems Jack Swagger was recolored as being Santino for whatever reason, even though Santino isn’t in this scene. He also has some ridiculous scaling problems.
The BEST part? WHY IS CURTIS AXEL SO TALL?! He is legit as tall as the Great Khali! He’s towering over Sheamus and Cesaro! Does he own a jetpack? Is he sitting on Roman Reigns’ shoulders?
So. See you next issue, I guess.