‘The Man’ Prepares For Her Blue Brand Debut In WWE Smackdown #1

by Brendan M. Allen

Becky Lynch, The Man, is ready to be part of the new Friday Night SmackDown. As she prepares for the big moment, Becky finds herself in a backstage adventure, encountering WWE Legends; Undertaker, the Hardy Boyz, Kurt Angle, and others, side by side with the current Smackdown Roster.

Join Becky Lynch backstage of WWE SmackDown as she explores the best that WWE has to offer!

Featuring a super-sized 25 page story from Kevin Panetta (WWE) and Kendall Goode (WWE: Undertaker), this will have you ready for the premiere of Smackdown Live! on FOX, October 4.

Smackdown #1 follows The Man, Becky Lynch, as she arrives at the Staples Center and navigates the backstage area. As the former Lass Kicker begins looking for allies, she reminisces about massive main events that have occurred on the Blue show since its inception in 1999, like Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar’s classic Iron Man match in 2003, Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero in their insane 26 September 2002 no disqualification match, Triple H vs. Matt Hardy and a few others. 

Kevin Panetta does a reasonable job getting inside Lynch’s head strutting around backstage. There are a few places where her self doubt and hesitance don’t really fit where the character is in her current kayfabe development, and this is supposed to be almost real time. Not sure if those spots were meant to pull back the curtain and let Becky Quin take over for a minute, but they stand out.

I have a few issues with the art, partially because it was consistently brilliant on the BOOM! Studios ongoing that wrapped up back in February. There are two artists working on this special, Serg Acuna, who was the primary artist on the WWE series, and Kendall Goode, who’s been doing pieces for some of the WWE specials.

It is abundantly clear, from sequence to sequence, which artist’s contribution is being viewed at any given time. The artwork is wildly inconsistent, and the hot tags between artists are frequent enough that it’s visually jarring and distracts from the story.

Acuna pays ridiculous attention to the details. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding errors or shortcuts on ring gear, hair styles, height and weight differences between wrestlers, ring skirts, turnbuckle pads… and they just aren’t there. I’ve gone so far as to pull up shows on the  WWE Network (Only $9.99 per month!) looking for discrepancies, trying to catch him out, and I haven’t found anything to date, in over twenty five books.

Goode’s style is much more caricatured. Liberties are taken with likenesses of the performers, particularly their relative sizes. Becky Lynch is 5’6”. The Undertaker is 6’8” and Kane is 6’7”. Stood next to each other in one particular panel, it appears the Brothers of Destruction are a solid TWO FEET taller than Becky. There’s also one panel toward the end that has Big Show doing some kind of overhead press with both members of Heavy Machinery over his head. Not a suplex or a Fireman’s Carry. A straight up military press. With Dozer’s 330 lbs. and Knight’s 320.

The overhead press world record is hotly contested, but a 400 lb. press is incredible. A 500 lb. press in unbelievable. Six hundred and fifty pounds? Even by a guy the size of Big Show, that’s not humanly possible. I get it. This is a form of entertainment that stretches the limits of credibility. Kayfabe and all. The physical feats these athletes pull off, though? Those are generally one hundred percent real.

Once in a while, they have a dude rip a gate off a steel cage or flip an ambulance or something, but those lifts? The flips and falls? Those are usually legit, and you won’t ever see Show or anyone else pressing two enormous humans overhead like that.

I’ve got to say, I’m a little confused by this one. The WWE titles have generally fallen into just a couple categories. There are the specials that lean into nostalgia by invoking well known Superstars, classic matches, and legendary rumors from behind the curtain. And then there was the ongoing, which fleshed out fairly recent storylines a little bit more than what we saw on the weekly TV shows and Pay Per Views.

SmackDown #1 is supposed to be taking place right now, er, slightly in the future, since it drops two real life days before the big event that is being shown in the book, and it doesn’t really hit the nostalgia or fit into the current WWE product as well as most of the BOOM! Studios WWE titles that precede it.

WWE SmackDown #1, BOOM! Studios, released 02 October 2019. Written by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Kendall Goode and Serg Acuna, color by Serg Acuna and Danny Sanchez Chaves, letters by Jim Campbell, cover by Xermanico, convention exclusive cover by Marco D’Alfonso, designed by Grace Park, edited by Chris Rosa. With special thanks to Steve Pantaleo, Chad Barbash, Ben Mayer, John Jones, Stan Stanski, Lauren Dienes-Middlen and everyone at WWE.

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