A Chaotic Attitude: The 90’s WWF Comics

February 14th, 2011 by | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s no surprise to me that Chaos Comics would release a set of WWF comics back in the late 90’s and early 00’s. That era was like a golden age for professional wrestling and WWF was really running with the ball in order to become the #1 game in town. It was a cultural phenomenon at a level that we may never see again. Unlike the days of Hulk Hogan wearing the red and yellow, it wasn’t just one man’s popularity holding up the company. Even the midcard guys would get wild responses from the crowd for doing nothing more than walking out and saying the same thing verbatim again and again followed by performing a horrible match (I’m looking at you, Road Dogg and Godfather). WWF had a ton of personality to play with, so as bad as any wrestling comic tends to turn out, playing with the properties during the Attitude Era made sense.

The Undertaker is the only one to get his own ongoing series, which I’ve already covered in a twoparter. Other than him, we got one-shots for Mankind, the Rock, two one-shots for Chyna and a four-issue miniseries for Stone Cold Steve Austin. At least with Undertaker, it doesn’t make you bat an eye as much because he’s an undead demon cowboy with an ill-defined backstory. How do you do a comic about Chyna, let alone two?

I’ll start with the Rock’s one-shot, as I might as well bookend this with the two top guys and the Bookend is another name for the Rock Bottom anyway. See? All ties together. Like all of these non-Undertaker stories, it’s written by Steven Grant. On art for this one, we have Fabiano Neves. For the non-wrestling fans out there, I guess I should say some stuff about who the Rock is… or was. What I’m saying is—

Okay, okay! Even that guy on the left looks like he knows I walked into that one.

The Rock is in Miami, on vacation and spending his time at a casino. What’s weird about these comics is that other than the Undertaker one, there’s very, very little emphasis on how these guys are wrestlers. Words like “wrestling” or even “Superstars” are never even uttered other than one instance. At the same time, Rock is the only wrestler to be considered well-known in any respect. By that I mean he’s the only one to be recognized at all. None of these comics are really about the WWF itself and dedicate themselves to what our heroes do on their days off. So let’s take a look at Rock taking a load off by gambling.

One thing I like about Grant’s writing is that he does have a strong handle on these characters in terms of dialogue. At no point do I think, “Austin would never say that,” or the like. Maybe from Chyna, but she was never the talkiest personality in the company.

These two thugs show off their guns and bring the Rock to the parking lot, where they threaten him. Their boss wants to make sure Rock doesn’t show up for his big fight, which confuses him since he has no plans to be in any fight, but doesn’t show it. He keeps being suave, kicks the crap out of the thugs and then questions one of them. This guy, who the Rock later names Hugo, tells the Rock that their boss, Fearson, runs underground fight clubs and his rival, a Ms. Ashley, will be dominating the next fight because she has the Rock in her pocket. Rock has no idea about any of this, but leaves with Hugo while telling the other one to relay a message to Fearson that he’ll be at the fight and he’ll win.

Fearson doesn’t take the message well and has his right-hand man Mr. Fist take care of this.

Ashley is shown in a gym, barking orders at a guy in a ring who looks vaguely Rockish. Her idea is to claim that she has the Rock working for her, use a reasonable facsimile and hope that somehow nobody notices. She even advises him to be more charismatic in his training. Things scratch to a halt when Hugo’s body smashes through the door and the Rock walks out behind him. Ashley realizes she’s screwed and Rock tells her off for using his name. Fake Rock puts his hands on the Great One and gets punched down. Ashley says that Fake Rock is now in no condition to make the fight and starts crying. Rock casually says he didn’t come here to make her cry and will make the fight as advertised.

Rock brings Hugo with him to a restaurant where Hugo is horrified at how many pancakes Rock is able to ingest.

That’s one form-fitting apron.

The arena for Ashley’s show is packed due to the Rock’s name. Despite her crying earlier, she shows to be a shrewd businesswoman willing to take advantage of Rock’s interference, while Fake Rock growls about how the Rock got a lucky shot in. Outside, Fearson is mad that he isn’t getting a cut of Ashley’s business and sends Mr. Fist in to take care of business. Then he discovers that the Rock has replaced his driver. Rock proceeds to somehow drive the car across the rooftops.

In the melee, Fake Rock seems to have things in hand.

There’s a Tooth Fairy joke in there, but I’d rather not.

Rock is able to fight off a bunch of guys at once, but Fake Rock momentarily takes him down. He puts Rock in a Camel Clutch, but Rock won’t stay down and starts to get to his feet. During all of this, Mr. Fist is going around taking out the other competitors. Rock holds Fake Rock across his shoulders and knocks him out with a Samoan Drop.

Mr. Fist makes a go at the Rock and it doesn’t work out.

With one page left, Rock corners Fearson and Ashley and demands they give the audience their money back and take a hike. They’re dishonest, use their fighters like meat and have no integrity. Either they make themselves sparse or the Rock will kick the shit out of them. Then he walks off with his farewell, “If you smell what the Rock is cooking!” catchphrase and presumably goes off to bang that one waitress. Probably more than one waitress, being that it’s the Rock.

I ended up liking that one for the most part. The art is good when the effort is put in and its just short enough to give a simple story with no time for things to get weary. Had this been 3 or 4 issues, I could see it getting old fast.

Next up is Mankind, where the art is done by Jerry Beck. As the prologue page explains, Mankind is trying to find his place in the world, much like the bee girl from the Blind Melon video. That takes us to the opening scene, where some jerks are beating up homeless people and telling them to scram. As one jokes, they can scream all they want, but nobody’s going to help them.

Suddenly, Mankind swoops in with, “Maybe she depends on the kindness of strangers! BUT I’M NOT THAT STRANGE!” He takes it to the bad guys while insisting that he isn’t a psychopath.

His rampage scares away the bad guys and they run off. Mankind talks to his sock puppet Mr. Socko and says that he’s going to stay with these homeless people from now on. They don’t seem too keen on the idea, but are too scared to say anything. A little girl named Nikki appears and greets Mankind. The two hit it off and I should point out that Nikki is one of the only pure characters in any of these Chaos WWF comics. Just about everybody else is a total asshole for the sake of making the wrestlers look better.

The mayor of the city talks to a man known as the Director. The homeless squatter problem is getting out of control and he’d rather just get rid of them than deal with it in a humane way. The Director promises that he will bring meaning to their lives and leaves.

Elsewhere, the homeless people talk to each other about how scared they are of having Mankind around. They decide to go tell him to leave.

Helicopters appear and fire gas all over the campgrounds. Mankind cradles Nikki in his arms and tries to make a run for it, but the gas gets to him. He makes a promise that he won’t let anything bad happen to her, then predicts the future by saying how much he loves the eventual WWE Champion Mike Mizanin.

See? He’s pro-Miz.

The Director talks to the imprisoned homeless people and claims that a great cataclysm is on its way. Humanity’s only hope relies on the Director enhancing man itself and in order to do that, he needs to experiment on these people. Due to his unpredictable nature and the great interest the Director holds in him, Mankind is put in his own private cell. He starts screaming bloody murder and slams his head into the door repeatedly until knocking himself out. The guards check on him and he springs to life, grabbing them by the throats and smashing their heads together. Mankind gets loose and runs amok throughout the complex, screaming for Nikki. The guards become so distracted by him that the prisoners strike back and start to win their own freedom.

Two enhanced soldiers Brute and Force are sent to take Mankind down. Brute pounds on him and throws him into a room where the Director is about to perform surgery on Nikki. Mankind electrocutes Brute with an exposed cable and makes a run for Force. Force tosses him around and Mankind stumbles upon Nikki, unconscious on the operating gurney. He wheels her out of there with Force giving chase. The two end up fighting while surfing on top of the gurney as it rolls through the hall. They crash through the window and fall hard into the ground. Due to the brawling, the building is beginning to burn down.

Nikki is completely okay from the fall, though still tired from the anesthesia. Mankind and Force are immobile beneath her. The Director is able to hold all those homeless people at bay with a single handgun and says that either he experiments on them or they die. Mankind gets back up and smacks the gun out of his hand. The Director begs Mankind to let him study him and give him a purpose, since his physiology is so unique, but Mankind has a better idea.

The homeless folks finally muster up the courage to tell Mankind to take a hike because their lives are already dangerous enough without him around. Nikki doesn’t want to leave, but Mankind is okay with it.

“I’m sorry, Nikki. Mr. Socko says it’s time. Somewhere we’ve got a real home. And a name and a face and a past. And we’re going to find it!”

And that place would be Total Nonstop Action! …Mankind was better off letting the creepy bald guy put a scalpel to him.

Actually, I didn’t mind that issue either. The art was a little too muddy, but Mankind is a muddy guy. Does that make sense? Pretend it does.

We follow onto the two Chyna comics. I find it weird that Chyna would get two comics, since of the four wrestlers featured in this article, she was easily the least interesting. In fact, by the end of her run in the company, she was downright annoying. A lot of people would tell you that Wrestlemania 17 is the best Wrestlemania, but damn if that Chyna match and all the storyline recaps you have to put up with don’t drag it down just a little. Also interesting is that the second issue here came out after Chyna’s final WWF match. She was still in the company, doing absolutely nothing for many months, but her in-ring career was done.

I guess part of the appeal to give her more than one comic is that she used to be a bodyguard, both in real life and in character, so there’s a lot you can do with that. Eddy Barrows does the art on the first issue, which begins with Chyna saving a little girl from a bunch of masked henchmen.

Yeah, see? Already this isn’t doing anything for me. It’s worse when you hear her voice when reading this.

For the most part, the Grant WWF comics suffer from overly invincible wrestler heroes as well as overly infallible wrestlers. They are always right and always know what they’re doing and nobody can touch them. I was somewhat surprised they even gassed Mankind to begin with, since that puts him in a moment of weakness. Bad as the Undertaker comic was, at least he got thrown off a building at one point and was impaled at another. Here, they’re more or less in God Mode. With the Chyna comics, it’s the most noticeable.

Some security guards, the girl’s nanny and her father all arrive, yelling at Chyna as if she’s the bad guy. Elliot Banks, the father, is incensed that the nanny Ms. Folsom is so inept to let a bunch of masked cultists steal his daughter away. Where’s her ability to do backflip elbows?

Meanwhile, this is being watched by the Death Cult, an army of guys in crappy t-shirts and gimp masks. Their leader is Kassandra, who is basically an evil Scarlet from GI Joe.

Chyna spends the next couple weeks with the little girl Jamie and sees how lonely she is. Jamie takes to Chyna and even chooses to have her tuck her in instead of the increasingly jealous Ms. Folsom. Then Elliot Banks takes Chyna aside and proposes to her. Chyna responds by being seconds away from murdering him on the spot. Like, I get that the dude is an overall sleazebag, but it doesn’t come across so well in this scene and Chyna seems to be going way too far in response to a guy fawning over her. Elliot is saved when a couple cultist ninjas arrive and get thrashed by Chyna. Unfortunately, she finds herself too late to save Jamie.

Chyna chooses not to follow, since that would put Jamie in even more danger, so she takes a cultist and grills her for information. They get the info on where the Death Cult is hiding, but Elliot insists on not calling the cops or media. He’s hired Chyna and she has to take care of it.

Chyna is greeted by Kassandra who says that her cult dealt with Elliot by paying for weapons. Elliot never delivered and told them to call the police if they had a problem with it. She also reveals that they’ve brainwashed Jamie into their own weapon (whoa, that was fast!) and that they’ve had a mole in the form of the nanny Ms. Folsom. Kassandra, Folsom and Jamie leave as a couple dozen Death Cult soldiers go at Chyna.

Chyna gets covered in scrapes, blood and tears in her outfit, but all that comes in-between panels as everything we see is her beating the shit out of everyone around her. It’s like that gag on Police Squad where Leslie Nielson punches out two guys with no problem, then is shown covered in blood and bruises like he was just in a knock-out-drag-out fight.

The cultists join together and dogpile on Chyna.

Ms. Folsom brings Jamie to Elliot during some business presentation. Jamie, her eyes glazed over, pulls out a knife and gets ready to stab her father in the back, but then Chyna appears and yells at her to stop. Because Chyna is awesome, she does just that!

Kassandra rushes Chyna and gets punched in the midsection. Chyna deals with Ms. Folsom by simply grabbing her by the shoulder and saying, “Where do you think you’re going?” I don’t know what kind of voodoo Chyna’s using here, but that one gesture causes Folsom to vanish from the rest of the comic without explanation. It’s uncanny.

Elliot thanks her for saving his daughter and offers a bonus, only to get punched down in response. Chyna says that she’s bringing Jamie home and demands that Elliot sell everything he has so he can raise Jamie himself because that’s his job from now on. Yeah, shame on you for being such a horrible person for fucking over an organization called the DEATH CULT! You should have bludgeoned them all and threatened them with death like Chyna, the greatest hero there ever was.

Who in the blue hell is THAT guy? Did the script call for a random dude to show up in the final panel to lovingly stare at Chyna’s ass? If so, was that in her contract?

The second Chyna comic is by… Mike Deodato?! Wow. Didn’t expect that.

It begins with Chyna at a socialite event, beating some dudes up and protecting a woman named Shelley Marko. The police arrest Chyna as part of the situation, but that’s a ploy to make it look like they aren’t working together. At the station, they explain that Shelley is the girlfriend of Sweet Nicky Decampo. The state’s attorney general has been building a case against him for a while and really needs Shelley’s testimony to make it a homerun. Shelley wasn’t going to do it, but Nicky is paranoid enough to think she will and wants her dead. This is her only way out. Chyna agrees to protect her, but still mentions that she wants to be paid. After all, she has other clients who need her.

Outside, a man named Rambeau (sweet Jesus, that’s a horrible pun) talks with Nicky Decampo on the phone to tell him that Shelley’s talking with the police and that he’ll proceed as planned. The police drive off in a fake motorcade and Chyna brings Shelley with her on a hang glider, since nobody will be looking up. Rambeau (seriously, that is downright abysmal) destroys the decoy motorcade himself, even though he knows it’s fake.

So the cop’s in on it too? I swear, 99% of these Chaos characters are corrupt. Chyna and Shelley ride on a motorcycle through a path that Chyna told nobody else about. Thanks to the GPS in Shelley’s phone, a helicopter is able to track them down and opens fire. The copter lands and Chyna ends up taking down the pilots before accidentally blowing it up.

As this is going on, Shelley meets up with her boyfriend Rambeau, pointing out that if Chyna sees them together, it’ll ruin everything. By this point, I’m not even close to being surprised that she’s evil.

The next day, Chyna and Shelley get to the city with the attorney general’s office, but Shelley leads Chyna into an alley where Rambeau (God… so bad…) is waiting with a gun. He leads Chyna to a construction site with a large hole in the ground, planning to bury her there. Shelley leaves them and Chyna knocks Rambeau down the hole before covering it with steel girders. Rambeau laughs at Chyna, probably because he realizes his name is Rambeau, but also because his intended victim is still going to get killed.

Way to go, Rambeau. From Chyna’s, “Oh, hell,” reaction, you’d have been better off not saying anything. Shelley gets into an elevator and closes it before Chyna can get in there. Chyna has to climb the stairs instead. Upon exiting the elevator, a mole in the office smuggles a gun into her hands. She enters the attorney general’s office and opens fire on the back of the chair, only for Chyna to spin it around and announce that it’s a bullet-proof chair.

With one page left and no idea on how to end it, Rambeau suddenly jumps through the window with guns in hand, Chyna tackles him through a table and we’re told the story’s done.

Now it’s time for the main event. The Rock comic was about an invincible jerk who defended his own honor against bigger jerks. Mankind’s was about an invincible psycho who meant well and saved the lives of people who fear him. Chyna’s was about an invincible woman who is the purest and rightest person there ever was, stuck in a pit of backstabbers and closet killers. But good ol’ Stone Cold?

Steve Austin’s comic is – seemingly by accident – an amazing experience. I don’t say that as an insult to the writer, but the miniseries mutates from your usual “wrestler beats up everyone” story into some kind of beautiful parody of a cliché storyline. I’m in awe over it.

On the surface, the plot is very much like a western. The drifter anti-hero wanders into a town filled with crime and corruption and finds himself chosen to make a difference, which works against his lone wolf character. Still, the man has a soft spot for the innocent and a sense of honor and will, in the end, do what’s right.

Let’s revisit that later.

The series is drawn by James Fry. It takes place in Jude River, Texas, where we begin at a diner. A woman named Jana Kincaid is being accosted by a bunch of religious zealot punks who appear to be about to rape her. The ringleader Seth gloats that God is on their side, so nobody will help her. That’s when a truck drives through the wall and Stone Cold walks out.

“Anybody here got a cold beer for Stone Cold Steve Austin?”

On one hand, that’s a pretty cool entrance. On the other hand… he didn’t really have any way of knowing about the attempted rape. He was just smashing through the wall regardless. It’s so over-the-top that Austin comes off as a comic book version of a Chuck Norris joke. It’s a theme of this book.

Austin is told to leave because this is none of his business, but starts flapping his gums back about what he’s going to do to Seth if he doesn’t shut his mouth. Grant has a strong handle on Austin’s dialogue, more than any of the other wrestlers. Though he may have made a misstep here.

I don’t know if that works when you’re in Texas, beating up another Texan. That’s like beating up a random dude on the street and saying, “Don’t mess with the US!”

To start a trend, this issue gives us a nice little Stone Cold Stunner.

Sheriff Butler appears to simmer things down. He’s going to take Austin away for committing a phonebook full of crimes, but Jana talks him out of it. The Believers are told to leave and Austin taunts their religion by bringing up what Austin 3:16 stands for. For saving Jana, he’s invited to her place for dinner.

Jana’s grandfather talks up the exposition and how the Believers have more or less taken over the town. Austin mentions how he doesn’t back down from anyone and he wishes the town would have the same mentality. Jana’s grandfather brings up a man named Chaney, who Austin reminds him of. Austin says he doesn’t recognize the name, but is told that he owned some land outside of town and also didn’t back down… that is, until they finally broke him, ran him out of town and had him killed.

Outside, some of the Believers look on at the house and Sheriff Butler drives by, giving it a look as well. The next day, he follows Austin and sees him standing in front of a fenced-off oil refinery with an empty shack – Chaney’s former home – sitting in the middle of it. He’s fixated on it and it spooks Butler enough to call his boss, some bigwig with a cigar in a high-rise office building. It’s mentioned that Chaney had a son, but he’s believed to be dead. Butler is told to keep an eye on Austin and watch how deep he digs for information.

After leaving a store with a big bag full of beer, Austin is stopped by some of the Believers, who demand he come to meet Adam, their leader and god. Austin plays it off and offers them some beer instead. They go for the attack, so he proceeds to kick their asses as easily as you’d expect.

He meets up with Adam, who makes Austin the offer to either join his ranks or get the hell out of town. Austin refuses both options and fights him. Adam shows some impressive martial arts skill in that he actually bloodies up Austin a bit, but this is Austin’s comic and he wins decisively. He warns everyone else to stay out of his way from now on and storms off.

That night, the Believers give Sheriff Butler a large bribe to turn the other way as they use their resources to hunt down Austin in the streets. Not only are they all armed with machine guns, but two guys are piloting a helicopter, trying to gun Austin down. Austin jumps through the window into an abandoned building, jumps out a higher window and springs into the helicopter. He throws out the two pilots despite his claims that he doesn’t know how to fly a helicopter, shoots at the Believers in order to scatter them and then crashes the copter near Adam.

Holy crap. Steve Austin just reenacted the entire Ultimate Warrior, “ASUUUUME the controls, Hulk Ho-gan!” promo. That’s amazing!

Austin survives the explosion, grabs Adam and threatens to snap his neck if any of his followers try anything. He swears to kill Adam unless they agree to leave town and they cave. The next day, they’re seen walking off as Austin notes that Sheriff Butler didn’t do a damn thing about their rampage. Since Butler knows Austin knows that he isn’t on the up-and-up, he draws his gun and places Austin under arrest.

Despite having a gun pointed at him as a cliffhanger, the second issue begins with Austin simply punching him down. What was that sheriff thinking? Austin survived an exploding helicopter! Bullets will only make him mad!

Meanwhile, another gang watches on from afar with binoculars. They call themselves Los Rudos, which is brilliant. Rudo is a term for what they call bad guys/heels in Mexico. The leader Rojo doesn’t think so highly of Austin and brings up some money that Sheriff Butler owes him.

Austin walks through town with everyone happily greeting him and kissing up to him. Austin responds as politely as he’s able, usually by just saying, “Yeah, yeah,” and keeping on his way. Jana runs over and wraps her arm around his, saying that she doesn’t mind everyone knowing that they’re an item. This is all based on her being saved by Austin, feeding him and saying, “LOOK OUT, STEVE!” during the Believer siege. In any other story, Austin would have some kind words for her.

“You’re a nice girl an’ all, Jana, but, hell, I can snap my fingers an’ get ten just like you. If you want my advice, pack up your grandpa an’ get out of town. Trust me. I ain’t here for my health, an’ I ain’t here for you. I rolled into town alone, an’ I’m leavin’ the same way. And that’s the bottom line.”

Goddamn, that’s harsh. It’s both misogynistic and hypocritical of Austin (hypocritical in the sense that he wants people to stand up for themselves in the face of people telling them to leave town), but ultimately factors into what, in the end, makes the story work.

Butler is locked up in a jail cell, insisting that Austin lets him out. The phone rings and despite Butler’s pleas to let it be, Austin answers it and finds the cigar-chomping businessman from earlier on the line. Identified as Derek Stinson, he’s given to Butler to speak with. Stinson yells at him for his incompetence as Butler begs for him to come and save him. Austin hangs it up during the conversation and notices the rumbling of motorcycle engines outside.

Los Rudos run amok through the town until Austin faces them down. He easily takes one out, but Rojo doesn’t seem too interested in following up.

Austin is pleased with this response and finds out that Butler owes Los Rudos a lot of money. They go confront Butler and threaten him with bullets until he tells them the combination to the safe. Once they get the money out, Austin gets Rojo to admit that this is drug money and then starts kicking ass.

Second issue; second Stunner.

Rojo and his boys are sent out of the station without their drugs or money. Rojo angrily shoots one of his men in the head, which makes you wonder why he didn’t try the same thing on Austin a minute ago. Butler, who is released for whatever reason, tells him that he knows Austin’s weakspot: a little lady by the name of Jana Kincaid.

Los Rudos kidnap Jana and hold her hostage, but it doesn’t get the response they wanted. Instead of Austin heroically trying to negotiate for her safety, he simply taunts them by standing on a rooftop and sprinkling heroin on Rojo. He evades the gunfire, gets in his truck and runs over most of their motorcycles. As Austin beats on some flunkies, Rojo takes Jana with him onto the last motorcycle left and tells Austin to give him back his money or the girl dies. An address would help, but Austin seems to have things taken care of anyway.

Austin gets in his truck and refuses to heed Butler’s warnings over how dangerous Rojo is in the desert. Austin flips him off and leaves him to deal with more of Rojo’s disgruntled gang members, still sore over Butler holding onto their money.

The issue ends with Rojo meeting with the rest of his gang, telling them that when they see something coming in the distance, shoot to kill. The good news for Los Rudos is that they succeed in destroying Austin’s truck. The bad news is that this leads to Austin on a stolen motorcycle, shooting arrows at fools.

So… God… damn… MANLY.

Rojo and whoever’s left ride off the Mexico, hoping that the home court advantage might give them an advantage. Yes, because that worked so well in the desert. Austin again proceeds to take out everyone in his way, even those with guns. That brings us to our third Stunner.

Thus leaving only Rojo (still holding Jana hostage) and one rather large gang member. This big guy brandishes a knife and Austin calmly walks into a nearby bar. He sits at the bar and orders two beers, insisting they’re served cold or else. The gang member, confused, follows. Austin offers him the beer, they toast, take a drink and Austin elbows him in the face before throwing him out the window. That leaves only Rojo, who tries throwing a knife at one point, but Austin backhands it out of the air.

When Rojo threatens Jana, Austin could not care less. He reveals that he didn’t chase him all this way to get to Jana, but to get to Rojo. Austin knows that Chaney was killed and he has figured that it was Rojo who did it. He threatens Rojo and forces him to reveal that Stinson was behind it all. Austin rides back to town with Jana, but continues to deny he has any interest in her whatsoever. Again, he warns her to get out of town.

He returns to the Texan town to find Stinson and a whole lot of bounty hunters waiting for him.

Stinson shows that those Los Rudos members who went after Sheriff Butler in the earlier scene are now all dead at the hands of those bounty hunters. Austin isn’t impressed. That’s when Butler appears with a crazed glint in his eyes, showing that he has a detonator in hand. If he presses the button, the entire town will go up in flames. Stinson laughs as Austin wouldn’t dare let a bunch of innocents die.

Here is where the miniseries really clicks. We saw hints of it when Austin drove through that wall despite not yet knowing that someone was in trouble. Or when he refused to give a damn when Jana’s life was in danger. Or every piece of dialogue he’s had with Jana in general.

Like every great 80’s action movie or western, we’re led to believe that a guy like Austin will fit into a certain mold. He is the anti-hero. The drifter with the heart of gold hidden under all that dirt. The bad man who will hold his own personal code of honor over anything else and ultimately do what’s right. Jana knows that Stone Cold Steve Austin is this kind of man and the bad guys agree.

“Beats me how you run an oil company worth a damn, Stinson. I ain’t heard y’get a thing right yet. Fact is, this hellhole deserves whatever it gets.” He backhands Stinson, runs determined through the dead bodies on the street, grabs the panicked Sheriff Butler and presses the button. The entire town goes up in one big fireball.

And that’s why this comic is so great. It’s about a guy with invincible plot armor who DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK. He doesn’t pretend to be some great hero. He’s just a really pissed off guy who does whatever he wants despite the labels people will try to place on him. He’s an asshole and proud of it.

Austin explains to Stinson that since those townspeople couldn’t stand up for themselves, they can kiss his ass. A couple of the hired thugs appear and beat Austin down, but he’s only playing possum. He starts fighting back and the moment it seems he might be in trouble, Butler shoots down one of the bounty hunters because Austin is his and his alone. Oh, and I almost forgot this.

That’s one Stunner per issue if you’re keeping count.

There’s a weird little subplot I’ve yet to mention about “the Corporation”. It’s mentioned how Austin’s tangled with the Corporation before and I guess they’re talking about Vince McMahon’s wrestling stable, though the comic makes it seem like he’s been fighting with something along the lines of the CIA. This includes one of the bounty hunters revealing that his brother worked for the Corporation and now ingests all his food through a straw.

Which reminds me, since this is the final issue, it needs to be special. Here, have another Stunner.

Austin sets fire to Stinson’s oil field. When Butler tries to open fire, his gun clicks empty and he cowers in fear as Austin walks away in disgust. Austin then chases Stinson into the old Chaney home and Stinson makes the connection that Austin must be Chaney’s son out for revenge. What a twist! Nope. Austin again refuses to be pulled into the cliché and says that he’s just a guy who knew Chaney one time. It’s convoluted, but Chaney was nice to him and Austin didn’t know his name and—you don’t care, I’m sure. It’s also explained that Stinson’s oil company has really been a gigantic failure and he’s been doing the drug deals with Los Rudos to keep it afloat.

Austin corners Stinson and the villain’s cell goes off. Austin makes him answer it, only to hear his secretary’s claims that the IRS and other government organizations are investigating the company and taking everything while putting out a warrant for his arrest. Austin leaves Stinson a gun and walks out of the burning shack, allowing Stinson to go out via suicide. Austin is last shown saying, “Prison or Hell. Don’t make much difference to me.”

The next day, an agent representing the Corporation (no, it isn’t Gerald Brisco) comes to ask Jana if it’s true that Stone Cold Steve Austin has been in town.

Again, we get a guy showing up out of nowhere to smile at people leaving as an ending to our comic. Weird writer trademark. At least he wasn’t staring at Chyna’s ass this time.

And so ends it. The second Chyna comic was actually the last of the WWF comics to come out of Chaos, which would go on to file for bankruptcy months later. I’ve covered all the existing WWF/WCW/WWE comics on this site by this point and it’s sad that these are the most forgettable of them all in a time when wrestling was at its most unforgettable. Maybe it was because they all had a real 90’s slant to the stories that make them just another clenched-teeth-gorefest, while the others at least have their moments of genuine colorful comic book goofiness. The same kind that I relate to what makes wrestling great.

Steve Austin shooting people with a bow and arrow on a motorcycle in the desert is pretty boss, but in the end, I’d rather read about a brainwashed Sting ranting and raving about chocolate cake.

Good times. Good, good times.

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3 comments to “A Chaotic Attitude: The 90’s WWF Comics”

  1. When those Stone Cold comics were coming out they were the top selling books at the shop I was working at. Those, and the Insane Clown Posse maxi-series that came with the CDs. Yep.

  2. Yay, more wrestling. The inclusion of the Rock and Stone Cold was rather apropos considering recent events, eh?

    I wish you would do more wrestling, although I suppose there’s a limit to what you can talk about considering this is a comics blog. I finally started watching Chikara a couple months ago and now I absolutely love it. Is there anything about that you could talk about? Maybe just some random one-off Chikara post like you’ve done before? I wish I could go to this year’s King of Trios, but unfortunately living on the other side of the state is about as useless as living on the other side of the country for the purposes of something like that. Ah well. Perhaps Chikara will do a show around here some day.

    You’re going to talk about the new Undetaker comic, right? (is that over yet? I don’t even know) From seeing bits of it it looks like the Cheetahmen made a guest appearance.

  3. Man, these are a blast from the past…not surprising Chyna got two books, she was getting pushed pretty hard back then (she held the IC title around this time, yes?)