Get ready for some old school action in this all-new special focusing on WWE Legends. The team of Michael Kingston & Michel Mulipola return to document the rise of the Excellence of Execution, Bret Hart; Brent Schoonover tells a tale of what happens when Bobby “The Brain” Heenan attempts to kidnap Matilda the Bulldog, and Lan Pitts & Carlos Magno reveal a showdown between Razor Ramon and Ted Dibiase at a jewelry shop, and more!
WWE Forever #1 is an anthology that nods at the Golden Era of wrestling. These are the performers that paved the way for The New Generation Era, The Attitude Era, The Monday Night Wars, Ruthless Aggression, and whatever we’re calling this current Era. (I’ve heard some names. I don’t like them. I’m waiting for something better before I settle.) These are the stories I grew up watching late at night, sneaking out of my room after my grandparents were asleep. As with any compilation, some of the chapters are stronger than others. Let’s run down some highlights.
Michael Kingston penned the script for A Show of Hart, which details Bret Hart’s journey from the undercard to the main event. Ever wonder what goes through a WWE Superstar’s mind before they hit the curtain and head down the ring ramp for one of the most important matches of their career? Probably some of this. Hitman mentally runs down just about every major stepping stone of his Hall of Fame career, leading up to his non-televised World Heavyweight Championship win against Ric Flair on 12 October 1992 in Saskatoon.
Michel Mulipola hits the likenesses pretty well, even aging and de-aging Bret Hart, Jimmy Hart, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart for the flashback scenes. Attention is paid to the evolution of Hitman’s ring gear and his locker room traditions. Those four hearts that show up on Bret’s tights? They mean something very personal to the man. The ring work looks a little static, but everything else is spot on.
King of the Bling is written by Lan Pitts, and I found myself instantly disliking this one. It took me a few minutes to realize why. It’s because it’s exactly the type of thing we used to see in these eighties vignette packages on WWE programming. I disliked the story, because 10 year old me disliked the characters back then, and Pitts delivered these two heels precisely the way Ted Dibiase and Scott Hall would have performed The Million Dollar Man and Razor Ramon in this setup.
Now I’m mad for a different reason. This would have been a legendary feud. Why didn’t his happen? Someone get Mr. McMahon on the phone for me.
Art by Carlos Magno is a little more caricatured than my personal preference, but it works. The likenesses are obvious, and the action is brutal. This is basically a street brawl in a jewelry shop, where there is no shortage of glass to break and hard sharp objects to introduce to your opponent’s face and fleshy bits.
WWE Forever #1 is another well played WWE outing for BOOM! Studios, playing heavily into the nostalgia that many WWE fans cut their teeth on. The characters, for the most part, are portrayed true to their established personas, and the artwork is solid. I do wish we could have delved a little deeper into WWE history. Throw up some Bruno Sammartino at the Garden, maybe? Anyway, solid book. Well worth the price of admission.
WWE Forever #1, Boom! Studios, released 29 January 2019. A Show of Hart is written by Michael Kingston, illustrated by Michel Mulipola, colored by Matias Laborde. King of Bling is written by Lan Pitts, illustrated by Carlos Magno, colors by Doug Garbark. The Royal Treatment is written and illustrated by Derek Fridolfs, color by Fred C. Stresing. Internal Audit is written by Arune Singh, illustrated by Kendall Goode. The Brain vs. The Bulldog is written and illustrated by Brent Schoonover, illustrated by Doug Garbark. All letters done by Jim Campbell. Covers by Rahzzah, Kendall Goode, and Marco D’Alfonso.