Written by: Box Brown, Ryan Ferrier, Ross Thibodeaux, Derek Fridolfs and Aaron Gillespie
Illustrated by: Daniel Bayliss, Clay McCormack, Rob Guillory, Derek Fridolfs, and Selina Espiritu
Colors by: Dee Cuniffe, Taylor Wells, Fred Stressing, and Jeremy Lawson
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Published by: BOOM! Studios
“Get ready for another round of slobberknocker short stories set throughout WWE history, tying into the fan-favorite annual pay-per-view event SummerSlam!”
WWE SummerSlam 2017 comprises five short stories, featuring select matches and superstars from the twenty nine year history of WWE’s second biggest event.
The opener, I Wined and Dined with Kings and Queens, pays homage to WWE Hall of Famers Dusty Rhodes and Randy Savage. Box Brown and Daniel Bayliss spin a little kayfabe yarn about a wayward Dream fan who’s momentarily star-struck by the Macho King, leading into the collision between the two superstars at the 1990 event. It’s a nice posthumous tribute to two of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots.
The next chapter is the standout for me. Ryan Ferrier and Clay McCormack take us Into the Mandible of Madness with 1996’s Boiler Room Brawl between Mankind and The Undertaker. The Undertaker has a long history of SummerSlam matches, with 16 total matches (officially 15, since his match at SS 2000 with Kane ended in a no-contest).
Leading into this event, the WWE did an excellent job building Mick Foley up as a psychotic self-mutilator who was constantly bringing The Phenom to his knees. With Mandible of Madness, Ferrier and McCormack take us deeper into Mankind’s ego, while running a reel of Taker’s greatest SS hits.
Ferrier’s script has some slick smark moments snuck in, like the single panel nod to Mark Callaway’s doppelganger match against “Prime Time” Brian Lee in 1994. McCormack does an insane job on pencils. Mankind presents a unique challenge for artists, where one character rapidly cycles from wide-eyed innocence to pure evil, from slightly confused to coldly calculated, with fugue states mixed in. McCormack nails it.
There’s also a chapter dedicated to 1991’s matchup between The Natural Disasters and The Bushwhackers, one on Finn Bálor’s match with Seth Rollins in 2016, and the fifth and final chapter in The New Day’s Optimistic Odyssey.
All of the writers did excellent jobs expanding the original WWE storylines, with accurate representations and natural outcomes of the original kayfabe plot points. The artists for each vignette took great care with performer likenesses and bringing the scripts to life in ways that fit the WWE era they were assigned. If any of these writers or artists was looking for a little side action, they could easily get jobs at WWE creative.