A Nightmare on Elm Street (Special) #1
Written by Brian Pulido
Art by Juan Jose Ryp
Publisher: Avatar Press
Premise: In 2005, Avatar Press began releasing titles from New Line Cinema’s “House of Horror” license, which includes A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Platinum Dune’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To kick off their titles, Avatar released one-shot “special” issues serving as an introduction to the New Line characters and premises.
After the events of Freddy vs. Jason, the adults of Springwood have turned the town into a police state, out to suppress any knowledge of Freddy so their kids don’t keep dying. If teens are afraid of Freddy he can invade their dreams and murder them, but as a lost secret, he is powerless. Emily, a rebellious teen and aspiring journalist wants to blow the lid off Springwood’s secret and tell it to the world. When her best friend Lindsay is abducted by police, Emily enlists aid from Alex and Sandy that leads them to Westin Hills Psychiatric Center. As Freddy hunts them one by one, Emily comes closer to the truth. Will she survive to tell it? This is bleeding-edge horror as only Lady Death creator Brian Pulido can deliver it with art by detail master, super-star Juan Jose Ryp.
Plot Breakdown (spoilers): At Springwood High School, Lindsay awakens from a Freddy influenced nightmare in class, frightening the other classmates and her friend, Emily. Before anyone can react however, two men in black suits escort Lindsay out of class. Emily, worried for her friend, finds Lindsay’s brother Alex and tells him of Lindsay’s “episode.” Joined by mutual friend Sandy, the three friends witness an unmarked van leaving the school in haste, the passengers recognized by Emily as the men who were last seen with Lindsay. Emily coerces Alex into taking in his car, insistent that they follow them. The trio covertly follows and watches the unmarked van drive to Westin Hills, where Alex and Emily later sneak inside, leaving Sandy to watch over Alex’s car. After nightfall, Sandy falls asleep waiting for her two friends to return. While dreaming, she is confronted by Krueger, who uses her love of food against her by making her balloon and popping her, resulting in a gore-filled bloodbath. Meanwhile, Emily and Alex search the institution for Lindsay and find her sedated with the other comatose patients from Freddy vs. Jason. Emily, horrified, takes pictures of the scene, just as Lindsay is killed in her sleep. While Emily takes the pictures, Alex panics and tries to find pills to calm him in the next room. In his rush, he begins swallowing whatever pills he can find, which causes him to lose consciousness and die at Freddy’s hands. Emily, trying to elude the Westin Hills staff, quickly finds a computer terminal where she tries to upload her pictures to the internet and warn others about what is happening in Springwood. The Westin Hills staff cut the power however, and confronts Emily about what she knows. An attendant explains that her actions could have unleashed Freddy upon the world and that it is Springwood’s responsibility to keep him contained, their actions justified. While the attendant talks with Emily, one of the nurses injects her with a drug that forces her to fall asleep, and subsequently die in her nightmare. The Westin Hills attendant destroys Emily’s camera, commenting that “she brought this on herself.” In the dreamworld, Freddy gloats and remarks he’s been away from his kids for far too long.
The Good: This issue effectively picks up from Freddy vs. Jason, carrying on the Nightmare themes touched on in that film. The artwork is exceptionally detailed and gore fans will love the characters’ bloody fates. Freddy is efficiently kept in the background too, leaving the central characters to drive the story. Dialogue is believable here and the ethics behind the cover-up subplot brings an interesting spin for those not familiar with the Nightmare mythos.
The Bad: While the story is acceptable, it suffers from pacing problems. Perhaps the most glaring is how quickly the characters fall asleep, as the timing of events does not successfully mesh with the sleeping factor. The artwork, which is excellent, does unrealistically portray the (supposedly) teenage girls. Both Emily and Lindsay look too model-esque for it to be believable. Other minor issues surround coloring, as Freddy’s sweater is not consistent; sometimes being red with green stripes, then others being green with red stripes.
Final Comments: A Nightmare on Elm Street (Special) #1 is an adequate introductory issue for those unfamiliar with Freddy Krueger. Classic Nightmare themes are presented in flashy and gory ways. Pacing is a problem however, and some readers might not take the premise or characters seriously.
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