(by Jason Craig)
This Is a Bad Place
Before ending the Friday the 13th comics with the ultimate battle, they released their final two-part series, 2008’s Bad Land by Ron Marz and Mike Huddleston. It shakes up the stale slasher formula with two stories from different times that run parallel to each other. One follows a group of hunters in the past who torture and kill a Native American woman after barging into her tepee. The other follows a group of hikers in the present who seek shelter from a blizzard in a Crystal Lake cabin. It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong in both situations: the hunters are stalked by the enraged husband of the Native American woman, while the hikers are forced to fight off Jason.
Friday the 13th Bad Land issue 1 and 2
The plot plays out like any other Jason story, but what makes this series stand out is how it’s told. The parallel stories really add something new and makes it an exciting read. We also get to see Camp Crystal Lake in the dead of winter, which is just as eerie and unwelcoming as it during summer. It’s good to know a little snow and cold won’t keep Jason down. Otherwise, it’s not much different from past comics. It’s a short, yet satisfying read.
But We’re the Same…
Maggie defends herself against Jason (by Andy B.)
2008 also saw the release of one-shot Friday the 13th: The Abuser and the Abused, a short and sweet revenge story. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, it follows Maggie who is constantly harassed, gets no support from her family, and trapped in an abusive relationship. When she’s pushed over the edge, she takes matters into her own hands with a knife. After dealing with her nagging parents, she takes care of her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she also runs into Jason. She stands her ground pleading with him to let her go because they’re the same. Sadly, it doesn’t work out for her in the end.
The eye catching pop art style by Andy B. makes it one of the most unique comics in the franchise. Because it’s not highly detailed and is cartoony, you’d think it’s a mismatch for the story, but it actually works quite well. The art and the straightforward revenge story has a similar feel to a vintage EC Horror comic. Also, we have a protagonist who tries to humanize Jason. She doesn’t treat him like a monster. Rather, she tries to plead with him and make him understand she knows what he’s going through. It doesn’t get her anywhere, but it’s different from the typical victims Jason comes across. It’s is another fun entry from Wildstorm that tries to do something new with the franchise.
Freddy Vs Jason Round 2
Fans wanted to see Jason and Freddy Kruger duke it out ever since Jason Goes to Hell. They finally got their wish when the two went toe to toe on the big screen in 2003’s Freddy Vs Jason. A sequel was scripted and planned by Jeff Katz, but was ultimately shelved due to its underwhelming box office performance. Writer James Kuhoric adapted the sequel in 2008 for a new comic series, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, published by Wildstorm and Dynamite Entertainment. This tale brings together three horror icons and has them fight the ultimate battle.
Issues 1 – 6 of Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash
Set five years after the events of the movie, Kruger is still kicking around in Jason’s mind. Kruger convinces Jason to grab him the infamous Necronomicon to become whole in the real world. Ash Williams, being the chosen one, gets wind of this and heads into town to stop them. We see them duke it out over six issues leading to gruesome and ridiculous good times.
Even though it’s not the strongest story, it’s a blast to read. It mixes the campy nature of Evil Dead with the wit of Nightmare on Elm Street and the gore of Friday the 13th. The overarching story is believable enough to bring these three forces together, so it doesn’t feel like a cheap cross over. The kills are over the top and blood splatters every page. Some of the writing is questionable, like Freddy’s unclear motivations for the Necronomicon or how Pamela Voorhees used the book to bring back Jason. Otherwise, it’s a fun read featuring some killer art by Jason Craig, whose redesign of Jason is gruesomely awesome. But the fight isn’t over just yet. Ash may have won the battle, but the war was just starting.
Introducing the Nightmare Warriors
Ash, Jason, and Freddy meet up again in 2009’s Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash: The Nightmare Warriors by the same team as the previous series. Taking place six months after those events, Freddy and Jason are resurrected by the US government. They not only want the Necronomicon, they want their powers too. Of course, they can’t control the monsters and all hell breaks loose when they attempt world domination using the Book of the Dead. Now, Ash has to take up his boom stick and join forces with Crystal Lake and Elm Street survivors, like Tommy Jarvis, to end them once and all.
The titans of horror meet up for one final battle (by Arthur Suydam)
Whereas the previous series was fun and ridiculous, this one is a complete mess. The story is so confusing you’re not sure what’s happening. There’s Ash and the survivors figuring out how to take down these monsters. Then there’s the government trying to get their supernatural abilities for unlimited power. Either one would’ve been interesting to follow on their own, but combined it’s too much. On top of that, the characters are so bland you can’t keep track of them. You’d think people who previously fought Freddy and Jason would be exciting, but they’re dull. The only memorable characters are Ash, Tommy Jarvis, Freddy and Jason.
The writing is especially weak and crammed with stupid plot twists, like Freddy bringing Jason back from the dead giving him new powers and a new head of hair (don’t ask). Or having Stephanie Kimble from Jason Goes to Hell trying to kill Jason. Even worse, Freddy brings in his daughter, apparently he had a kid at some point, and she’s out for blood. And the overloaded references to the franchises are terrible. It’s like they replaced plot holes with lame nods to the series. There’s too much going on. Just when you think you figured it out, another dumb element is introduced to the story. To cap things off, the series concludes with Freddy and Jason seemingly vanquished with the cliché “The End?” closing the comic. Clearly, they wanted to continue the story, but luckily they didn’t get that far.
The Nightmare Is Over…For Now
There’s no stopping Jason Voorhees
So, ends the Friday the 13th comics. There hasn’t been a new one since 2010 and really, there doesn’t need to be. While some of the comics are fun, they all follow the same pattern. There’s only so much you can do with Jason. He’s a lumbering mute with a machete who only knows how to kill. Even before you open the comics you know Jason is going to win; the franchise has to stay alive somehow.
Despite the forgettable sequels and lackluster comics, the franchise lives on. Though Jason’s got the same two moves, hack and slash, his brutal adventures continue to excite, thrill, and terrify fans. He sits up there with other horror icons like Michael Meyers and Kruger. Nearly 40 years since he was introduced to the world, he continues to be discovered and embraced by the next generation of slasher fans. He’s a legend that can never die. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you for joining Reality-Comics on this weird ride through the Friday the 13th comics. Be on the lookout for our next retrospective series coming soon.
By Ashley Perez