Boom! Studios first WWE themed comics event is officially here. Beginning with Takeover: The Blueprint the WWE developmental brand is in the spotlight every week this month.
NXT TAKE OVER: The Blueprint #1
Written by: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Jake Elphick
Color: Doug Garbark
Letters: Jim Campbell
Published by: Boom! Studios
While WWE Comics have been worthwhile entertainment, the event specials Boom! puts out, every time one of World Wrestling Entertainment’s big four pay-per-views nears, have been mostly less than stellar due to a lack of editorial focus. So much so that I found myself a bit skeptical of what the company’s NXT themed event could deliver. If this opening is a taste of what’s to come then readers are in for an easter egg filled four issues of must-read comics for wrestling fans.
NXT Take Over: The Blueprint tells the early days of WWE’s developmental brand. The same place that polished the indie diamonds like Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), Generico (Sami Zayn), Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, and many more. Writer Dennis Hopeless pens a sort of behind the scenes tale through the lens of industry icon “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Wrestling fans know that he, along with Triple H, were responsible for taking small nothing territories WWE previously used to train talent and molding them into a new worldwide brand that gets wrestlers ready for the largest stage by giving them a big platform to train on.
Dennis Hopeless nails the tone and charisma in the dialogue of Dusty as we see him years ago mentor superstars fans know today like Big E and Paige. You can practically feel The Dream jiving in these panels with his accent that puts a smile on your face. It turns this book into a beautiful story that nods to a ton of today’s superstars and their gimmicks today, even if it isn’t quite how things happened. It’s wrestling, so historical accuracy isn’t quite the priority versus emotional connection. Don’t expect the issue to set up an Avengers vs Thanos type problem to resolve throughout the month, this isn’t that kind of event. Especially as this issue reads like a behind the scenes documentary and that’s okay as this weekly event is about celebrating the best thing WWE has going today.
The issue’s biggest problem is the art of Jake Elphick. Dusty Rhodes was a generously heavyset man yet Elphick draws him in a suit that looks like it’s five sizes too big at times. Then there are the other wrestlers he draws, the muscle work in the figures makes them look like they all have several bones out of place. I understand the aim of sports entertainment is a bit cartoony in nature but this art style simply doesn’t work. Yes art is subjective but as WWE is a multi-million dollar brand, you’d think an art style that looks good on a poster would be a better fit for this.
Overall, I was touched by this tale. As a fan of NXT since the days it was a hybrid reality show that introduced us all to Daniel Bryan and Heath Slater, I want to be on board as NXT gets its comics spotlight. Even with a cringe-worthy art component, this is a book that aims to please the hardcore wrestling audience and it won’t disappoint them. Plus we get a glimpse of Seth Rollins in his wrestling panties and the NWA title so those are wins for me.
Here’s The Rest of This Week’s #1’s
ASGARDIANS OF GALAXY #1 (Marvel)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Matteo Lolli (CA) Dale Keown
WAR BEARS #1 (Dark Horse)
(W) Margaret Atwood (A/CA) Ken Steacy
CALL OF DUTY: ZOMBIES #1 (Dark Horse)
BORDER TOWN #1 (DC/VERTIGO)
(W) Eric Esquivel (A) Ramon Villalobos (CA) Jorge Jimenez
COVER #1 (DC/Jinx World)
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Mack,David
DREAMING #1 (DC/vertigo)
(W) Simon Spurrier (A) Bilquis Evely (CA) Jae Lee
UNITED STATES VS MURDER INC #1 (DC/Jinx World)
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Michael Avon Oeming
JAMES BOND ORIGIN #1 (Dynamite)
(W) Jeff Parker (A) Bob Q (CA) John Cassaday
BULLY WARS #1 (Image)
(W) Skottie Young (A) Aaron Conley (CA) Skottie Young
SILVER SURFER ANNUAL #1 (Marvel)
(W) Sacks, Ethan (A) Andre Araujo (CA) Philip Tan
THANOS LEGACY #1 (Marvel)
(W) Donny Cates, Gerry Duggan (A) Cory Smith (CA) Geoff Shaw
OLD MAN LOGAN ANNUAL #1 (Marvel)
(W) Ed Brisson, Ryan Cady (A) Simone Di Meo, Hayden Sherman (CA) Shane Davis
CASPERS GHOSTLAND #1 (American Mythology)
(W) Pat Shand, Mike Wolfer (A) Eric Shanower (CA) Bill Galvan
KIM REAPER VAMPIRE ISLAND #1 (Oni Press)
(W) Sarah Graley (A/CA) Sarah Graley
PLUSH #1 (Antartic Press)
(W) Holly Daughtrey (A) Holly Daughtrey
THE THREE STOOGES MATINEE MADNESS #1 (American Mythology)
W) James Kuhoric, Mike Wolfer (A) Adrian Ropp, Eric Shanower