Great Moments In WWE History Collected – WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Volume 4
by Brendan M. Allen
Return to some of the greatest moments in WWE History from across multiple eras of sports entertainment. Featuring such titanic clashes as Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels, and Undertaker vs. Kane from Wrestlemania 14, this collection is truly a showstopper.
WWE Then. Now. Forever. Volume 4 collects stories from a few of the BOOM! Studios WWE specials that dropped earlier in the year, all in one big book. As always with anthologies and collections, mileage will vary from story to story, especially with as many creative teams worked on this thing. Let’s hit some of the highlights (and maybe a couple lowlights).
In Queen vs. Empress, Bill Hanstock and Hyeonjin Kim team up to rehash the feud between Charlotte Flair and Asuka that culminated at Wrestlemania 34. Hanstock puts us inside both stars’ heads, providing motivation and first person narration. Interesting approach, but not really much new ground being covered here. The strength of this piece is really in Kim’s line work. Likenesses are hard to hit. Kim nails the facial features, sure. The harder part is often in body shapes, ambulation, expression, and ring work. All spot on.
Destruction of Brothers takes a very stylized, comic book superhero take on The Undertaker and Kane’s meeting at Wrestlemania XIV. The Undertaker is one of the WWE’s longest standing gimmicks. That being said, his kayfabe origin story has been retconned more time than Bruce Wayne’s.
Andrew Stott and Andy Bellanger flesh out the prevailing ‘Taker storyline from 1998, where his long lost brother who was presumed dead shows up in the WWE to challenge Big Evil to a vendetta match. This was not my favorite storyline at the time, and it’s still a little weird for me now. The flashback vignettes don’t really add much to the material we already saw on-screen.
I’m Sorry. I Love You. is a brilliant piece of kayfabe that has more than a little reality mixed into the storyline. Ryan Ferrier and Kendall Goode take a crack at Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24. Two of the biggest icons in the history of professional wrestling and longtime friends, giving everything they had in one of the hardest fought, emotional matches ever booked. Ferrier’s script comes primarily from Michaels’ perspective, showing the immense respect and love he has for the man across the ring.
Kendall Goode’s style is a little more cartoony than my personal preference, and likenesses slip a few times, but the effect generally works for the material. The action is a little flat, and the characters aren’t always spot on, but the emotional weight of this moment is clearly on display.
I’m a little perplexed by the inclusion of Internal Audit in this collection. Arune Singh and Kendall Goode give us a kayfabe look at the formation of one of the 90s’ hottest heel tag teams, Money, Inc. The connection between Ted Dibiase and Irwin R. Shyster was a little shaky (one was a millionaire, and the other was a tax auditor), but they worked extremely well together and drew some serious heat. The trouble I had here was that the story delves into the weird connection instead of showcasing these fellas’ abilities to work a crowd into a lather.
The story is passable, and the art is good enough, but it’s taken from the same book that featured A Show of Hart by Michael Kingston and Michael Mulipola, which was AMAZING, and is not included in this collection.
One of my favorites in this collection is King Without a Crown, which details one of the biggest moments in Shinsuke Nakamura’s since his transition to the WWE. Lan Pitts tells us the story of Shinsuke’s preparation for his first big title shot against The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles, all from Shinsuke’s introspective perspective. While these two had already faced each other countless times overseas, this was, by far, the biggest stage, and it put both superstars over in a huge way.
Serg Acuna is a perfect choice to pull art duties on this segment. Acuna’s linework on WWE stories is inspired, and he demonstrates his unique flair for the material here.
As I mentioned, any anthology is going to have entries that work better than others. This is no exception. Two of these stories are absolutely amazing, and worth the price of admission on their own. A couple are very good, but could have been polished up a little. Not perfect, but highly entertaining, and the overall quality is definitely consistent with previous BOOM! Studios WWE anthologies.
WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Volume 4, Collects stories from WWE: Forever #1 and WWE WrestleMania 2019 Special #1, BOOM! Studios, released 30 October 2019. Internal Audit written by Arune Singh, illustrated by Kendall Goode, letters by Jim Campbell. I’m Sorry, I Love You written by Ryan Ferrier, illustrated by Kendall Goode, letters by Jim Campbell. Queen vs. Empress written by Bill Hanstock, illustrated by Hyeonjin Kim, color by Wesllei Manoel, letters by Jim Campbell. Main Card written by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Kendall Goode, letters by Deron Bennett. Destruction of Brothers, story by Andrew Stott & Andy Belanger, written by Andrew Stott, illustrated by Andy Belanger, color by Lee Loughride, letters by Serge Lapointe, My People written by Arune Singh, illustrated by Kendall Goode, letters by Deron Bennett, King Without a Crown, written by Lan Pitts, illustrated by Serg Acuna, Blackheart Begins written by Bill Hanstock, illustrated by Rodrigo Lorenzo, color by Doug Garbark, letters by Ed Dukeshire, Era Apparent written by Bill Hanstock, illustrated by Rodrigo Lorenzo, color by Doug Garbark, letters by Ed Dukeshire. From Darkness written by Bill Hanstock, illustrated by Rodrigo Lorenzo, color by Doug Garbark, letters by Ed Dukeshire. Bro Hymn written by Bill Hanstock, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, letters by Ed Dukeshire. One and Only written by Bill Hanstock, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, letters by Ed Dukeshire. Cover by Felipe Massafera. Designed by Grace Park.