Monday, August 31, 2015

Nightmares On Elm Street #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

I've got some sad news for you if you haven't heard yet.  Wes Craven, the legendary horror writer/director died Sunday and while I originally intended on getting up to date on the Puppet Master comic series for this installment of Just For The Hell of It Mondays, I figured I'd do a book to honor a man who created an icon, that scared the hell out of me as a kid.  I watched a lot of horror flicks growing up and no one scared me the way that Freddy Krueger did and it might be because of the premise of a slasher that kills you in your nightmares and then having said nightmares that made Krueger a character that was truly terrifying....... you know, until he got goofy.  Even then though, he's still a character that will never be forgotten and nobody will ever forget the man that was behind the nightmare.  It's pretty sad to me because it was films like Nightmare on Elm Street, The People Under The Stairs and Shocker that really made me want to be a part of the horror genre growing up, so while Wes gave me nightmares, he also gave me dreams.

Written By: Andy Mangels
Art By: Tony Harris
Cover Price: $2.50
Release Date: ? ?, 1991
Publisher: Innovation Publishing

Wake Me Up...... So I Don't Go Go

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

So way back in 1991, when Freddy Krueger was singing his supposed swan song in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, a small comic company called Innovation had acquired the rights to the sleep stalker and began putting out comics based on the character.  Now, I happened to have one of the series that they put out back at the time and that was the comic adaptation to the film Freddy's Dead...... and while I can't say that it was great........ it was awesome for nine year old me.  I found out about this series awhile back and I figure that it would be worth reviewing for a Just For The Hell of It Mondays type of deal because while it's based on the characters that Wes Craven created, it's still a sequel and man did he not like the sequels to this franchise....... and after reading this I can kind of understand his point of view....... Nah, that's a little too harsh.  Let's jump into this story that takes place after A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child and see who Freddy is terrorizing now.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:
As we begin our story it's hard to determine exactly where we are because the caption box is telling us that what we're reading is from the newly discovered personal diary of Jack The Ripper and while this series is prone to show you things that aren't real, it's kind of hard at first to determine if we're seeing the events of a Jack the Ripper killing or if we're in a dream world...... well, cool your jets turbo, a few pages in we realize that this is simply a dream inspired by our main character Cybil's constant reading of the said diary, but our main character realizes things aren't exactly Mr. Sandman, Give Me A Dream, when she turns a corner in foggy old London Town and realizes that she's right in front of Nancy Thompson's old house at 1428 Elm St.  Luckily though, she awakens before Freddy has a chance to slice and dice.  Normally I'm a stickler for continuity and would have liked an explanation on how Freddy's still kicking after he was vanquished in the movie that took place before this story, but here I actually like just jumping into this and getting right to the story at hand.  It turns out that Cybil was college roommates with Nancy Thompson...... who if you don't know was the main protagonist in the first Nightmare flick and would eventually die in the third movie.  Cybil believes that she's dreaming about Nancy for a reason and decides to check up on her old friend and these events set the whole story in motion.

First off, Cybil is a bit of a jerk because she starts calling people to get a hold of Nancy at like six in the morning and she begins with Nancy and her's other roommate Priscilla, who after her years in college is now a big fashion show designer and after she says that she hasn't seen Nancy in years, but heard that she was working at the Fairview Institute, Cybil hangs up and goes to her next lead.  Let's not move away from Priscilla though just yet because this is the best part of the book.  After having a number of late nights due to her deadline, Priscilla finally conks out and we begin our second nightmare.  I love this because it's classic Nightmare on Elm Street.  We've already established that Priscilla is a designer, so that's exactly what the dream will be about.  It's funny because the initial dream is hokey because it's a bunch of skeletons on a runway and the event is being hosted by Freddy Krueger, but the real fun begins when Priscilla believes that she's startled awake at her sowing machine.  It's at this point where she realizes that she got some of her fabric stuck in the machine and when she tries to remove it, the machine becomes Freddy's claw and Priscilla meets her end.  This is definitely the highlight of the book and the writer sure got his tropes of the series right when conceiving this scene. 

In the end, Cybil continues her calls that lead her to Dr. Simms at the Fairview Institute, which lead her to Dr. Neil Gordon...... who was kind of like the love interest of Nancy in the third movie and witnessed Freddy's fury first hand.  During Cybil and Neil's conversation, Cybil trips and hits her head putting her into a dream state that shows her husband dying from a work accident at the printing press, but unlike Priscilla where we had background on the character that drives the nightmare, we didn't know shit about Cybil's husband...... so this really wasn't anything worth having a nightmare about.  As the issue closes, we're led to believe that our main character awoke from her dream again before Freddy could get her...... and maybe she did and there's something bigger going on here because when Cybil gets up and listens into her phone, she's sucked inside of it and is confronted by her old friend Nancy who tells her that Freddy is trying to destroy "The Beautiful Dream".  Now that might not mean much to all of you, but if you recall at the end of the Nightmare Part 3, when Nancy dies, Kristen tells her that she's going to dream her a "beautiful dream" and it looks like Kristen might have saved her mentor Nancy, even if it is only in a dream state.

That's it for this issue of Nightmares On Elm Street and while I can't say from my other experiences of Innovation's foray into this franchise that I had hoped for the best, this turned out to be not that bad.  I would have liked a little more setup with the third dream sequence since we had already established that the nightmares are based on events going on in the character's real life..... like the movies did later in it's run, but out of nowhere we're thrown into this printing press and how the character always wanted to make the news....... It's just a whole bunch of stuff that feels like it was edited out of the story that would have made this nightmare so much more effective if we had simply had it setup in a passing conversation.  My qualms about that nightmare aside though, the real problem with this book is the art style.  It's really rough to look at sometimes due to the painted look it's going for and I found myself really confused about what was going on and if characters actually died or not.  It just didn't do the book any favors.  I do think that the overall story is interesting though and even from what I've seen here I would have totally preferred this to the mess that we got in the Freddy's Dead film...... Okay, so anyone out there that is able to time travel, hook a brother up and let's go back and change the sixth film in the franchise to this.

Bits and Pieces:

While I love the overall story and how it connects to the rest of the Nightmare on Elm Street film series, a little more setup would have been nice and a art style that's able to properly convey what was going on would have been even nicer.  Even though this series is twenty four years old, I find myself intrigued with what it has to offer and as a long time fan of this franchise, I can't wait to get to the rest of the story.


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