In WWE The New Day: Power of Positivity #2, the stable of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E are still trying to work out the kinks in their ‘travelling gospel trio’ gimmick. In this version of events, which, oddly enough, isn’t rooted in kayfabe or reality, the gang is just about to hang up their boots and give up before everything finally clicks.
There are three kinds of wrestling stories out there, the ones that stick to kayfabe (BOOM! Studios’ Undertaker: Rise of the Deadman OGN), those that hang out on the real life side of the business (Squared Circle’s Nikolai), and those that walk a line between real life and scripted events (all of Dennis Hopeless and Serg Acuna’s run on the WWE ongoing).
This series isn’t any of those. Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker take a lot of liberties re-writing events that we all watched on television. I can literally turn on my set right now and pull these matches and promos up on the Peacock app, and this isn’t how they went down. Not even close.
One of the absolutely amazing things about the real rise of The New Day is these three guys’ ability to take an absolute shit gimmick and sell it. Connecting with an audience that was watching and waiting for them to fail. The concept they were dealt is right up there with the worst of all time, and that’s saying something. None of that comes through in this book.
On the art side, likenesses are pretty good, and all of the scenes outside the ring work really well. Unfortunately, the action within the squared circle is really hard to read. In one sequence, X is stood ringside, with his feet on the ground, between turnbuckles, reaching for the tag while Kofi is in the ring, getting a mudhole stomped in his ass. Not even on the ring apron. On the ground.
None of the matches make sense visually. The ring keeps changing size and shape between sequences. Tables and props change position and orientation in the ring between panels. It’s really distracting and hard to follow.
I really wanted to like this series. I have thoroughly enjoyed most of the WWE content BOOM! Studios has put out. This one just confuses me. It would have been so cool to get a peek into the actual backstage happenings, or to go completely off the rails and make these guys superheroes, or space cowboys, or whatever.
Rewriting canonical kayfabe on the fly? Just doesn’t work. Not sure who this is aimed at, or why.
WWE The New Day: Power of Positivity #2, 11 August 2021. Written by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, letters by DC Hopkins.
I really wanted to like this book. It just doesn’t land. So much of the actual work these guys put in is glossed over, completely re-written, or left out completely. I don’t get it.