I promise you there will not be any bat-dong here because we’re talking about a different kind of fantasy as we continue to look at BOOM! Studios NXT event.

WWE: NXT TAKEOVER – Into the Fire #1

 

Writer: Dennis Hopeless

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Artist: Hyeonjin Kim

Colorist: Wesllei Manoel

Letterer: Jim Campbell

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

 

Last week’s NXT TAKEOVER: Proving Ground focused on real in-cannon WWE events in the NXT feud between Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. This week, Into The Fire goes a bit off the rails to invent a backstory for Paige’s long-awaited return to RAW last year that avoided any talk about her relationship with Alberto Del Rio and wellness policy violations.

Bravo, Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman, X-Men). You attempted to put a shadow games spin on a story in wrestling that’s truth was a bit sad outside of the ring. Paige being depicted as some sort of mastermind on par with the likes of WWE’s goodwill ambassador William Regal had its interesting moments in their cheeky conversations about power dynamics. Though some of the other depictions in this book come off a bit too cartoony, specifically with the Riot (I will not use two “t”s to spell it) Squad instantly going from coy rabble-rousers to vicious anarchist punks at the turn of a phrase. Thank you for reminding me what I love about Asuka, seeing her be an unstoppable and best of all smart badass in these pages makes me want to never watch Smackdown again cause of what WWE have done with her, which is nothing.

The illustration of these WWE characters is on point in depicting superstars as the living comic book characters they already appear like on TV. Where it doesn’t succeed is coloring. Paige in some panels blends too much with background color and the whole thing is tinted so annoyingly red it looks like the entire issue takes place inside a cherry Jolly Rancher.

Overall, NXT TAKEOVER: Into The Fire is fine but definitely not as strong as the other offerings in this NXT event. When you think about it, Paige’s return story of looking for a lady Shield to watch her back barely has anything to do with NXT beyond calling up some talent that wasn’t ready for the main roster. I would have rather read a story that focused on Asuka’s streak or Paige becoming the first NXT women’s champion. Had the book come out before Proving Ground I would have enjoyed it more, but having to follow last week’s fantastic story makes this feel like that spot on a WWE PPV when people just get up to eat or go to the bathroom so not to miss the main event.

 

Here’s The Rest of the #1’s

OLIVIA TWIST #1 (DARK HORSE/BERGER BOOKS)
(W) Darin Strauss, Adam Dalva (A/CA) Emma Vieceli
A reimagined classic tale. A solid and entertaining read that nails the landing for young girls.

BATMAN DAMNED #1 (DC/BLACK LABEL)
(W) Brian Azzarello (A/CA) Lee Bermejo
You can read about it in the BEAT’S DC Rundown, but mannnnn is this book good.

DICK TRACY DEAD OR ALIVE #1 (IDW)
(W) Lee Allred, Michael Allred (A) Rich Tommaso (A/CA) Michael Allred
This book feels like I’m reading Dick Tracy comic strips all over again and that might be the best thing about 2018.

GI JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO SILENT OPTION #1 (IDW)
W) Larry Hama, Ryan Ferrier (A) Kenneth Loh (A/CA) Netho Diaz
I was a bit lost since this issue references other G.I Joe series but loyal readers are defintely rewarded.

BURNOUTS #1 (IMAGE)
(W) Dennis Culver (A) Geoffo (CA) Chris Burnham
A cross between They Live and Saved By The Bell, these teens can only see aliens when they’re wasted and that’s probably the only way this book is entertaining.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 (MARVEL)
W) Saladin Ahmed (A) Garry Brown (CA) Aco
Like I find it hard to believe that we’re just now in 2018 finding out what Peter did in the alien symbiote when he would sleep. Pass.

CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #1 (MARVEL)
W) Tini Howard (A) Ron Lim (A/CA) Chris Sprouse
I’ll buy anything Chris Sprouse draws and this is no exception.

RETURN OF WOLVERINE #1 (MARVEL)
(W) Charles Soule (A/CA) Steve McNiven
Read the Beat’s thoughts bub.

CASPER CAPERS #1 (American Mythology)
(W) Various (A) Warren Kremer (CA) Jeff Scherer

JUNIOR HIGH HORRORS #1 (Keenspot Entertainment)
(W) Rob Potchak (A) Rob Retiano, Billy Parker

PATIENCE CONVICTION REVENGE #1 (Aftershock Comics)
(W) Patrick Kindlon (A) Marco Ferrari (CA) Robert Hack

PINK PANTHER SURFSIDE SPECIAL #1
(W) Mike Wolfer, S.A. Check (A) Diego Tapie, Jorge Pacheco (CA) Jacob Greenwalt