Haze of Glory!
As many comic book collectors can tell you, graphic novels about the squared circle have ranged from mind-numbingly awful to barely passable, which is why they've never had any sustainable success. So when WWE recently came out with a new offering, it picqued my interest.
What the WWE Superstars series, produced by Super Genius Comics, has going for it is that each issue is written by Mick Foley, so not only are the storylines dreamed up by an actual wrestling guy, but he's a best-selling author to boot, so you know the actual writing isn't going to be anything to sneeze at.
Plus, publishing deadlines have a bit more flexibility than they did when the WWF and WCW were putting out comics 20-odd years ago, so the characters and storylines should, in theory, be a lot more current.
Unfortunately for WWE Superstars, by the time this June 2014 issue hit newsstands, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Rey Mysterio were not parts of the active roster. But given that this was likely written at the beginning of the year, that's a minor quibble.
Haze of Glory (we're dealing with Part 1 of 4 today) begins with an arena where WWE is about to present a show completely destroyed, from the ring to the backstage area. Even Mr. McMahon's suit is torn to shreds, so The Authority has no choice but to round up the most likely culprits (Bryan, Punk and Mysterio) and fire their asses.
The babyfaces claim they're not to blame for this. As Vinnie Mac takes care of a sudden cold (which MUST be an inside joke by Foley, given how McMahon famous despises getting sick), the trio explains what must have gone down....
Punk explains how he was backstage at catering, minding his P's and Q's, when all of a sudden, Paul Heyman and his band of Paul Heyman Guys (in this case, Curtis Axel and his client who ended The Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania... Brrrrrrock Lesnar!) get in his face. The Straight Edge Superstar tries to fight back, but ultimately fails and is saved by his buddies Bryan and Mysterio.
But that's not how it went down, Mysterio says. Rey Rey was jumped after a match by Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus (hmmmm, I guess they really WERE planning a heel turn for The Celtic Warrior back around the Royal Rumble, huh?) and it took Punk and Bryan to save his 619'ing ass from further harm.
How do two wrestlers have such differing opinions on what happened to them?
No, that's not how it went down, either, says Bryan. The real story involves Dragons and Minotaurs (Foley's dig on WCW in the 1990's?) and how Bryan and his band of merry men fought off these creatures as well as a giant gorilla, and that's why the arena is destroyed.
The wrestlers backstage act exactly how you figure they might about this revelation:
Eventually, the crew deduced that someone must have spiked the fruit punch, giving Bryan, Punk and others some sort of hallucinatory powers. Gosh, Vince, if there was ever a time to bring up the Wellness Policy, it's now!!!
The faces convince The Authority that they can find out who's been spiking the soda, which is really just a flimsy excuse for the comic to feature Bryan saying his catchphrase at the end of the day.
Backstage, the good guys confront Randy Orton about being behind the spiking. Orton is coy with his answer, but then again he also has an army at his beck and call, including The Shield, Brock Lesnar, Kane, The Great Khali (wait.... he's a heel in this comic, too?), Curtis Axel, Road Dogg, Sheamus, Jack Swagger and some unknown guy without hair. Seriously, look at the dude in between Ryback and Jack Swagger.... unless they're trying to channel Kurt Angle, I honestly have no clue.
Bryan asks if anyone has seen his sword (a nod to the minotaur flashback he was having earlier) and the episode is "To Be Continued".
Will Sheamus exact revenge for the deceased minotaur? Will CM Punk take his ball and go home? Will Fandango somehow save the day? Tune in next issue to find out!
How do I feel about WWE Superstars the comic book? It's definitely more interesting than some other comics I've read, and I may just have to pick up a future issue to see what happens to the gorilla.