FRIDAY THE 13TH: Vol 1 (comic-book)

1

The 6-issue series was published by DC comics’ Wildstorm imprint in 2007. Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti it’s a pretty standard, but surprisingly decent, Friday The 13th story. It opens with a young blonde woman, who is beaten and bloody (and completely naked) being chased through the woods by good old Jason Voorhees, late at night. She stumbles onto the road, right in front of mobile home being driven by an old married couple. They stop, and take her into their trailer, and quickly drive off, while Jason watches from the woods. Next we see the girl in the hospital, where she has to be heavily sedated because she keeps freaking out. The local Sherriff is talking to the doctor, wanting to know when the girl will be able to talk because she is the only “survivor” from Camp Crystal Lake.

Flashback to a couple of weeks earlier. A wealthy businessman, Mr. Gaines, has bought the land around Crystal Lake, and plans to re-open the camp, by capitalizing on it’s horrific reputation, believing that kids will beg their parents to send them to “Camp Blood” for the summer. From his comments, it’s apparent that Jason is thought of as an urban myth, and modern day boogie man. He’s hired a group of young people (no exact ages are given, by they all appear to be late-teens/possibly early 20’s) to work on building the camp for the next 3 weeks. Among them are two guys, Jerry and Nate, who arrive together. A group of four, Ryan and his girlfriend Sascha, with Ryan’s friend Brian, who is the socially awkward nerd, and Sasha’s friend Sally, who is the blonde from the opening pages. And then there’s Rico and Alisha, two Black/Puerto Ricans from L.A. Also around is Mike, who is Mr. Gaines’ Supervisor for the camp. After Mr. Gaines leaves for the day, the group hangs out around the lake, getting acquainted. The character dynamics are established pretty early. Rico is a bit of a hothead, and he and Ryan seems to take an instant dislike to each other. Sasha can’t stand Brian, whom Ryan is a bit protective of. Mike has the hots for Sally, but she’s not interested, and we learn that she’s on medication for being Bi-polar. and Jerry and Nate are a couple of jokers who like to goof around. There’s some historical exposition, as Brian informs everyone about the background of Crystal Lake, starting in 1957 when Jason Voorhees drowned there, and then how his mother came back and killed a bunch of people years later, and of all the other “mysterious deaths” (over 150, according to Mike) that have happened over the years. Sally goes for a swim, and we see her being pulled underwater by what appears to be the corpses of dozens of young children. The other campers pull her back up, but she’s not breathing. As Mike gives her mouth-to-mouth we see her hallucinating about Jason, and then she’s revived.

Over the next couple of days, we see the campers working, talking, arguing and fighting. There’s also some sex (& female nudity). Then the weather goes bad, it starts raining, electricity goes out and…JASON appears, and starts killing them off, one at a time. The rest of the series follows the typical patterns of a slasher pic, with some meta-commentary thrown in, as the gang talks about things like sticking together because “it’s always the first person who runs off alone that gets killed.” But, of course, there’s no stopping Jason. The kills in this book are pretty good. Without spoiling too much, like who bites it and how, I’ll break it down: Two gets stabbed in the face, another gets his head smashed under the tire of a car, one gets shot in the throat by an arrow, another gets their head cut in two with a machete, another is beheaded, and then two are gutted. A mini-spoiler, since we know from the opening, is that Sally is our last survivor. Fast forward back to the present, in the hospital, the Sherriff is going over her medical history, and because of her bi-polar condition he believes this caused her to go crazy and committed the murders herself, while hallucinating about Jason Voorhees. But we know it can’t just end like that, right? Well, you’ll have to read it yourself, to see how it ends, but I was satisfied.

Overall, there’s nothing exactly groundbreaking here, but as a Friday The 13th story, I think it’s pretty good. I could easily see this adapted as a film. If it were filmed right, I’d put it above Friday The 13th’s Part V, VII, VIII, and Jason Goes To Hell. It could even work as the sequel to the 2009 remake/reboot, although it was published before that. I should mention that in the story there is given a possible explanation for Jason’s continued resurrection, in the form of an old Native American curse on Crystal Lake, from back in the 1800’s when White settlers came in and started killing them (yep, it’s all The White Man’s fault…), I’m not sure if that really ads anything to the Jason mythos, but it doesn’t hurt. But while I enjoy Gray and Palmiotti’s story, the only weak spot in this book is the artwork. Adam Archer does the pencils, with inks by Peter Guzman. It’s fine, for the most part, but some of the faces on the various characters tend to have a lot of weird expressions on them, and some of the anatomy looks cartoony, so I’d say it could have been better. That’s the only thing keeping me from giving this collection a straight A. Instead I’ll grade it:

B+

Unfortunately, he series has yet to be made available digitally on comixology, and the tradepaperback appears to be out of print, so it can be rather expensive to purchase on Amazon.

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