Review: WWE Forever #1

WWE Forever #1 is a celebration of WWE wrestling in the Eighties and Nineties.  The book is an anthology of five stories featuring wrestlers and story-lines from that era.

The first story is titled “A Show of Hart”.  This story written by Michael Kingston (WWE:  Then, Now, Forever) and illustrated by Michael Mulipola (WWE: The Sami and Kevin Show) nominally follows the career of Bret “The Hitman” Hart during his first stint with the company.  The story begins with Bret in the locker room preparing for one of his first matches against Randy “Macho Man” Savage (RIP) while being talked up by his then manager, Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart.  As Jimmy Hart pumps him up for his match we are treated to a variety of images from Brett Hart’s future career.  Those images include The Montreal Screw Job, his legendary tag team pairing with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (RIP), his pairing with his future brother-in-law Davey “The British Bulldog” Smith (RIP), his classic match against Curt “Mr Perfect” Hennig (RIP) and his eventual betrayal by Jimmy Hart himself.  These are some of the matches featured in this excellently drawn and scripted story. Here are some clips of one of those legendary matches –  Bret Hart vs Ric Flair 1992

Story – 4 of 5 Stars
Art – 3.75 of 5 Stars
Overall 4 of 5 Stars

The next story in this anthology is King of the Bling written by Lan Pitts (The Darkness) and illustrated by Carlos Magno (Deathmatch).  This is a fictional account that takes place during the feud between Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase and Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall.  This is an entertaining story that stays true to the characters played by DiBiase and Hall.  Razor Ramon and The Million Dollar Man clash while shopping at a high-end jewelry establishment and this story fits nicely into the feud they had during this era. Here is a promo for that feud by Scott Hall – Razor Ramon promos his match against DiBiase

Story 3.5 of 5 Stars
Art – 3 of 5 Stars
Overall – 3.25 of 5 Stars

Next up is “The Royal Treatment”, written and illustrated by Derek Fridolfs (Teen Titans Go).   This story was intended to pay tribute to a famous match between Harley “The King” Race, then managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (RIP), and Sylvester “The Junkyard Dog” Ritter (RIP).  While the story is adequately done and faithfully recreates the spirit of that match and the events that followed, I was not a fan of Fridolfs’ choice of art style.  I felt it cheapened the match and the story itself.  Furthermore, the art style is a complete departure from anything else in the book and the contrast is grating. Here are some clips from that classic match – Harley Race vs Junkyard Dog Wrestlemania 3

Writing – 3.25 of 5 Stars
Art – 2 of 5 Stars
Overall – 2.75 of 5 Stars

The next tale is “Internal Audit” written by Arune Singh (WWE) and illustrated by Kendall Goode (The Pride).  This tale is intended to be a genesis story for the tag team partnership of the aforementioned Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) aka Mike Rotunda.  In one of the odder gimmicks in WWE history, Schyster was a crusading tax auditor who went after the WWE locker room for various tax code infractions.  When the WWE wished to turn him heel he was paired with Ted DiBiase and the tag team champion team Money Inc. was formed.  This story tells the tale of how DiBiase and IRS met and how The Million Dollar Man won him to his side. Here is one of Money Inc’s classic matches – Money Inc vs Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior

Story – 4.5 of 5 Stars
Art – 3 of 5 Stars
Overall – 3.75 of 5 Stars

The final story is “The Brain vs The Bulldog”, written and illustrated by Brent Schoonover (Avengers:  Standoff).  This story follows the on-air feud between The British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith, RIP) and The Heenan Family managed by Bobby Heenan (RIP).  While Davey Boy is getting a beat-down from The Islanders, Heenan gets into a verbal sparring match with The British Bulldog’s mascot, an English bulldog named Matilda.  Heenan eventually steals the bulldog and absconds with it.  On air, Heenan would eventually return the bulldog stating that Matilda had made his life miserable.  This story seeks to illustrate what happened as Heenan and Matilda went on their road trip.  The end result is endearing and funny, giving color to this “infamous” moment in WWE history. Here is a link to the incident : Bobby Heenan Steals Matilda

Story – 4.25 of 5 Stars
Art – 3.5 of 5 Stars
Overall – 4 of 5 Stars

Books like this are always hard to rate and I’ve given you ratings for each individual story.  Overall, the book was entertaining and worth the price of admission for the nostalgia factor alone.  If I was to rate it solely on the writing and art inside I would give it a 3.5 – 3.75 score but the nostalgia factor has bumped up the score.  In short, this is a fun book that brought back lots of memories and will be enjoyable who are fans of the WWE.

CRUSADERS SCORE

A Show of Hart
Writer – Michael Kingston
Art – Michael Mulipola
Color – Matias Laborde
Letters – Jim Campbell

King of the Bling
Writer – Lan Pitts
Art – Carlos Magno
Color – Doug Garbark
Letters – Jim Campbell

The Royal Treatment
Writer – Derek Fridolfs
Art – Derek Fridolfs
Color – Fred C. Stresing
Letters – Jim Campbell

Internal Audit
Writing – Arune Singh
Art – Kendall Goode
Letters – Jim Campbell

The Brain vs The Bulldog
Writing – Brent Schoonover
Art – Brent Schoonover
Letters – Jim Campbell