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When Titans Slash!

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One was a child killer who prowled a suburban town. Arrested and tried for his crimes, he was released on a technicality. The upset neighborhood parents decided to take it upon themselves to get vigilante justice by burning him alive. They thought by taking this violent act that their children would be safe. But it just gave the killer the ability to strike at their children when they are most vulnerable—in their dreams.

One was a deformed, mentally challenged boy. After almost drowning at a summer camp because the counselors who were supposed to watch him were having sex, he decided to take vengeance on any teenagers who indulge in sin. Armed with a machete and a hockey mask, he preys on any and all visitors to Camp Crystal Lake.

One was a lowly S-Mart employee, looking to spend the weekend in a cabin in the woods with his friends and girlfriend. Unfortunately, in said cabin was an ancient and evil book called the Necronomicon. The book released evil spirits into the world who possessed his love ones. He was the only one who survived the experience.

If you’re a fan of horror movies, or at least ones made after 1980, then names of the above characters are unnecessary. But for those of you not in the know, they are, respectively, Freddy Kreuger of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th movies, and Ashley Williams of the Evil Dead films.

They are charismatic, they are popular, and they have stared in 21 films between them. And now, finally, they are going to meet. Not on a movie screen, but rather in the pages of comic books.

It started in September 2002. That was when filming of the movie Freddy vs. Jason began. It was an idea to reinvent both the Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises, which had seen better days at that time. They decided to bring some excitement back to both movie franchises, by giving the fans what they were clamoring for—a battle between the two horror icons.

The movie made over $114 million worldwide, quite a profit considering the budget was only $25 million. That immediately got the powers that be thinking about another sequel, and another team-up.

In 2005, rumors began to circulate that a sequel was in the works and this time Freddy and Jason would be joined by Sam Raimi’s Ash character. While a treatment for that movie was made, it eventually died in development hell. Fans of all three characters thought they would never see who would come out ahead in that match up.

But those fans who wonder what might have been will have to wonder no more. And, fittingly, it is an intercompany crossover that is finally bringing this movie character crossover to life. Wildstorm, who owns the comic book rights to Jason and Freddy, and Dynamite Entertainment, who owns the comics rights to Ash, have come together to give us a six-issue series describing the conflict between the horror icons.

The series is taken from the original treatment for the original crossover movie. Writer Jeff Katz worked for New Line Cinema during the planning stages and was instrumental in getting Ash on board and designed the pitch of the aborted film. That pitch is what makes up the skeleton of this miniseries.

The story revolves around Jason and Freddy trying to get their hands on the Necronomicon as a way to return to life. Ash, of course, knowing how dangerous the book would be in their hands, doesn’t want that to happen. Conflict ensues.  

So whether you are a fan of Freddy, Jason, Ash, or all three, this is a must buy for you. And it proves that the road from comics to movies sometimes works in both directions.

Also out this week:

Jonah Hex #25:

It’s rare that we get to see a master at work in comics these days. Most of the artists being employed by the big two arrived on the scene between 10 and 15 years ago. But this issue features a legend whose first work graced comic pages over 60 years ago.

Russ Heath got his start in 1947 at Timely Comics (which later became Atlas and then Marvel). He worked on stories in many genres that were popular at the time—war, suspense, etc.—but he is most renown for drawing westerns. So he is a perfect fit to fill in on one of the few westerns still on the market. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get a pretty good story to go with it.  

Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti (W), Russ Heath (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Annihilation: Conquest #1:

The first Annihilation series was a surprise hit for Marvel in 2006. Never a company to let a good thing go without a sequel, 2007 brought a follow up with some of the same characters and a brand new threat to face. The start of this series means the event has entered the home stretch.

The Phalanx have found that a universe weakened by the Annihilus’ forces is one ripe for conquest. Their attack began with the Kree and no alien race is safe. A brave group of heroes are trying to fight them off the best they can. But the motives of the Phalanx might go beyond simple conquest. And the truth of what they’re after might rip the universe apart.

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (W), Tom Raney (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99. Six-Issue Miniseries.

Groo: Hell on Earth#1:

Several weeks ago, we tributed Groo on his 25th anniversary. At that time, we warned you that he would be back with a new miniseries in a few weeks. Well, this series is it. I hope that you made the proper preparations.

This time Groo is facing off against something as timely as today’s headlines—global warming. But, Groo being Groo, the climate change is at least partially his fault. He’s faced off against assassins, against killers, and against entire armies. But can everyone’s favorite cheese dip-loving barbarian hope to win against an enviroment gone wrong?

If you have not had the joy of reading Groo over his 25 year history, this series is the perfect place to start. Trust me, if you pick this book up, you will not be disappointed.

Mark Evanier (W), Sergio Aragonés (A), Dark Horse, $2.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #33:

One of the best plot points of the glory days of Amazing Spider-Man was the irony involved in Aunt May’s opinions towards Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. She thought her nephew’s alter-ego Spidey was a menace but the criminal scientist Doc Ock was a gentleman—good enough to marry on one occasion.

That story track is mirrored in this issue as the bespectacled Doctor takes up residence in the Parker household. How can Peter tell his Aunt that her new border is evil without revealing his secret identity? And how can he change into Spider-Man when one of his greatest nemesis’ is in the room next door? And can he avoid Doc Ock becoming his new Uncle?

Fred Van Lente (W), Cory Hamscher (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Division 18: The Union of Novelty Costumed Performers #1:

You might see them every day but you seldom give them a second thought. They exist in the background, unnoticed. But who speaks for these people? Who gives voice to this put upon group? These men and women who wear oversized foam latex suits to advertise and entertain?

Yes, this book is about bargain-basement Barneys and second rate San Diego Chickens. It promises to show the seedy underbelly of the novelty costumed performer circuit. Needless to say, there is a lot of comedy in the miniseries. They also promise a lot of violence. So if you ever wanted to see a man dressed as an eight-foot snake beat up on other costumed mascots, then this book is for you.

Matt Bergin (W), Jeremy Donelson (A), Silent Devil Productions, $2.99. Three-Issue Miniseries.  

Fearless #1:

The lack of fear as a quality for our heroes is not a new gimmick in comic books. Green Lanterns were once picked for being fearless and Daredevil has been advertised as “The Man Without Fear”. But this miniseries takes that concept to a whole new level.

Much like Hal Jordan and Matt Murdock, this series’ lead character is also without fear. And this fearlessness has given him the edge in combating crime. However, his identity isn’t the only secret he is keeping. He actually suffers from a crippling anxiety disorder. His bravado is provided by a revolutionary anti-fear drug. Unfortunately, his supply of the drug has run out. How can he fight crime when he’s too frightened to go outside?

Mark Sable & David Roth (W), P.J. Holden (A), Image Comics, $2.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

New Avengers Illuminati #5:

When this series that was to tell the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Marvel Universe was originally solicted, they were vague about what the content of this issue would be. Now, the reason for the secrecy has become obvious. This issue deals with the Skrull invasion and sets the stage for next year’s big event.

The Illuminati have reconvened for the first time in the post-Civil War, post-Planet Hulk era and the Skrulls are the main topic of conversation. But could a Skrull have infiltrated the group?  Apparently yes, and the result is an all-out brawl. Place you’re bets as to who the Skrull is now. My money is on Professor X. Although, I hear that Iron Man is a popular choice.

Brain Michael Bendis & Brian Reed (W), Jim Cheung (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99. Final Issue.

###

William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer. He also writes periodic comic reviews forPopMatters, is a weekly contributor to Film Buff Online and writes title descriptions for Human Computing’s Comicbase collection management software. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

 

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