Following the initial 6-issue miniseries by Jimmy Palimotti and Justin Gray, Wildstorm Comics (an imprint of DC Comics) published a series of 2-issue stories and a one-shot comic about our favorite masked slasher, Jason Voorhees. This tradepaperback collects them all. So I’ll review each one.
1/PAMELA’S TALE written by Marc Andreyko and drawn by Shawn Moll. This is a direct prequel to the first film, and tells the origin story of Pamela Voorhees and how she ended up at Camp Crystal Lake. It begins just like the first film, in June 1980, with the young woman named Annie arriving in town, and hitching a ride to the camp. This time we see that the 2nd person who picked her up was Pamela Voorhees, and Pamela tells Annie her life story. Pamela was a young woman married to a brutish man named Elias Voorhees who used to verbally and physically abuse him. When Pamela gets pregnant, she hears voices which she believes are coming from her unborn child, whom she calls Jason night. One night, after a beating, Jason tells her to kill Elias, which she does. Stabbing him to death then cutting up his body and dumping it in a river. She drives off, eventually settling in the city of Crystal Lake, where she gets a job as a waitress, and then as a cook at the local summer camp. We see her give birth to Jason, who is deformed, but she loves him anyway. As the boy gets a little bigger, he becomes trouble. He’s withdrawn (possibly retarded), and when his babysitter quits after showing Pamela that Jason has been capturing and torturing animals, the camp owners tell her to bring Jason with her to the camp, where they can keep an eye on him. But, as longtime Friday The 13th fans know, things don’t work out, as Jason is taunted by the other kids in the camp, and the drowns while the camp counselors who were supposed to be watching him were off having sex. This leads Pamela to kill two counselors when the camp opens again the following year. And then to return in 1980 when the camp is attempting to reopen. The final scene of the story is the ending scene of the first Friday The 13th film, with Pamela arriving at the camp to confront Alice, who has just witnessed a series of murders. And that’s how it ends, with “The Beginning.” If you saw the movie, you know what happens next.
I do think it was clever the way this story tied into the film, showing us some of the events but from Pamela’s perspective. But I’m not really happy about the idea, as portrayed here, that Pamela was nuts from at least the time she was pregnant, that she was hearing Jason’s voice, telling her to kill people. I prefer to think that Pamela was just a normal, loving mother, who only snapped when her child died. But, still, it’s a good story, and Moll’s art was suitably creepy for the tone of it. GRADE:
2/ABUSER AND THE ABUSED written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and drawn by Andy B., is the one-shot story. It’s about a teenage girl named Maggie, who’s life is pretty crappy. Her mother died some time ago, and now she lives with her father and stepmother. He father is a drunk, and her mother is verbally abusive and constantly puts Maggie down. Maggie has also had a history of cutting herself, and has been sent to different counselors, psychiatrists, and priests, in an effort to cope with her grief, but none of them help her. Her school life is no better than her home life, as she is mocked and picked on by the other girls at school, and she has a boyfriend named Steve, who is verbally and physically abusive towards her. One night, Maggie finally has enough. She stabs her father and stepmother to death and then, with the promise of sex, has Steve pick her up and drive her to a secluded area where she plans to stab him to death too. But the area she has him take her too is the old abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. All I’d say about what happens next is that it’s brutal and bloody. GRADE:
3/HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION is another 2-parter, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Adam Archer. It’s told mostly from the point of view of a 13 year old boy named Davie, who suffers from a bone disorder that makes his face look deformed. His mother sent him to a camp in the woods of Crystal Lake, where’s he’s bullied by the other campers. One night, some of the kids toss him into the lake, as a joke, while the camp counselors who should be looking after him are off having sex…sound familiar yet? But just when you think this is going to be a replay of the Jason Voorhees story, Jason himself shows up, machete in hand, and starts slicing and dicing. A local Sherriff, who happens to be high on meth at the time, arrives on the scenes and attempts to shoot Jason, but he accidentally shoots and kills two camp counselors. So, to cover up his crime, he gets a knife and hacks the bodies to pieces, so he can blame it on Jason, who was gone off, taking Davie with him. Over the course of the next 9 days, Jason takes Davie with him through the woods, as he kills anyone he comes across, while an FBI and National Guard manhunt ensues, trying to capture Jason and rescue Davie. Except we see that Davie actually likes being in the woods with Jason and even though he was scared at first, now he willingly follows Jason around. He knows that story that Jason was once a deformed little boy like him, and so is the one person who understands him (at least that’s how Davie sees it). But in addition to the FBI and National Guard, that crazy Sherriff is also looking for them. He wants to make sure Davie is killed before anyone can find him, since Davie saw the Sherriff shoot the two counselors earlier, and he doesn’t want anyone to find that out.
This story has it’s fair share of blood, guts, and brutality, but also a surprising bit of heart, as you can’t help but feel for the plight of poor little Davie. It’s interesting to note that this story was written two years before the Friday The 13th remake film, which also featuring Jason kidnapping someone, instead of just killing them, because that person reminded him of someone (in the movie it was a girl that reminded him of his mother, and here it’s a boy who reminds him of itself). The only weakness to this story being, again, Archer’s artwork, just like in the Palmiotti/Gray miniseries I reviewed last time. GRADE:
4/BAD LANDS the final story in this collection, another 2-parter, written by Ron Marz and drawn by Mike Huddleston. This story tells two different tales simultaneously, jumping back and forth from the past to the present. Both stories take place in Crystal Lake during a snow storm in the Winter. No exact date is given for the story set in the past, but it appears to be in 1800’s, as it features three White men, dressed like the White men in the flashback in the previous miniseries, hunting in the woods, when they get caught in the snowstorm. So they come across a big tent in the middle of nowhere, and go in to wait out the storm. There’s a young Native American woman breastfeeding her baby inside. She is scared by the men, but can’t speak English, so the men just sit by the fire the woman had burning inside to keep warm. Soon, two of the men decide to rape the woman, while the 3rd man objects but is too afraid to actually stop them from doing it. After they finish, one of the men shoots the woman and her baby dead, because he thought she was reaching for a weapon to attack them with (she was just reaching for a rattle for her baby), and just then a Native American man, the woman’s apparent husband, walks into the tent and sees his wife and child laying dead. He tries to attack the men, but one of them shoots him in the face, but he survives and runs outside. The three White men decide to go after him, but when they go outside they can’t find him.
Meanwhile, in the present, two men and a woman were hiking in the woods, when they got caught in a snowstorm, and they come across the old abandoned Camp Crystal Lake, and decided to stay inside one of the cabins, to wait out the storm. During the night, the woman and one of the men decide to have sex, and the other man wake up and catches them. It would seem that he had a crush on the woman, and is angry to find out that she’s sleeping with his friend. So they all get into a fight, and the 2nd man storm out, but the first man goes outside to try to talk him into coming back in, because it’s too cold outside. And then they bump into Jason…
So the story goes back and forth between showing the three hunters being chased through the snow by the Native American man, with his face half-blown off, and armed with his tomahawk, and the three hikers being chased in the snow by Jason Voorhees, armed with his machete. It’s pretty neat the way the two stories contrast each other, and it ultimately plays into the history revealed in the previous miniseries, that the woods of Crystal Lake are cursed by evil forces released by an old Native American Shaman, and that Jason is just the latest incarnation of that evil. It’s very well written and I love Huddleston’s pencils. GRADE:
All in all, this is a good collection of stories. Each one could have probably been stretched out to be a longer series, but I think it’s better to keep it short and to the point. I recommend this to all Friday The 13th fans. Unfortunately, like the previous collection, it’s out of print and not available digitally (at least not legally) yet. But the trade paperback can be found on AMAZON.