Long-time frenemies Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn take the spotlight in this new arc. As Hell in a Cell looms, will KO finally corrupt Sami to his side?
“Some armory in the middle of Ohio, eight years ago.” That’s where this new arc kicks off in WWE #18, zeroing in on the long and storied relationship between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. “Some armory” takes a poke at ROH, PWG, and Chikara, for whom the pair were performing in that timeframe. Opening the scene in the parking lot following the card conveniently dodges the fact that Zayn was performing under a mask at the time as the highly entertaining “El Generico.”
I’m convinced Dennis Hopeless moonlights as a professional wrestler. He’s got a firm grasp on the ins and outs of the industry and has a knack for realistically expanding the television storylines into an easily accessible, relatable package. The timeline bounces around through various points from the duo’s humble beginnings on the indie circuit to their individual WWE roster call-ups. There’s an underlying tension throughout their entire relationship that never fully resolves, which leads into Zayn and Owens’ most recent television storyline, teased for the next chapter.
The artwork is amazing, as usual. Serg Acuna’s attention to detail is ridiculous. The only (slight) issue I have is that KO isn’t quite that ripped. Part of the appeal of Owens’ character is that he’s built like like the dude up the street. Makes it seem like an average guy could hang on the main roster. I don’t know what the deal is with not being allowed to show any of the McMahons’ faces (Stephanie was shown/not shown at the beginning of the last arc), but Acuna is still able to deliver an undeniable likeness of Shane-O Mac, using some slick tricks with perspective.
I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to see a Brainbustaaa!!!!! or an Ole! kick by El Generico in the opening sequence. There are clearly some guidelines the creative team has to work within, and anything to do with rival organizations and previous gimmicks has to be handled delicately. Neatly sidestepped, while still telling the story that sets up the whole arc.
WWE #18, published by Boom! Studios, released 20 June 2018. Written by Dennis Hopeless, illustrated by Serg Acuna, color by Doug Garbark, letters by Jim Campbell. Backup story, “Twas the Day Before Rusev Day,” written by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Dominike “Domo” Stanton. Covers available by Dan Mora, Adam Riches, Brent Schoonover and Marco D’Alfonso.