FREDDY VS. JASON VS. ASH II: THE NIGHTMARE WARRIORS

The first miniseries was obviously a success, because two years later Wildstorm and Dynamite published this follow-up 6-issue miniseries. Once again Jeff Katz is credited with the story, while James Kuhoric wrote the script, and Jason Craig handles the majority of the art, with Cruddie Totian (love that name) is credited with “additional art” in issue #4 of this series.

This 2nd series attempts to be much more ambitious than the first one, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The first Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash series, like the Freddy Vs. Jason movie, was pretty straight forward. Even if you were only passingly familiar with the various film franchises, you could easily follow along. And the stories were simple. In the movie, Freddy sent Jason to Elm St. to kill people so everyone would think it’s Freddy, and become scared of him again, so Freddy could regain his ability to enter people’s nightmares. In the comic-book, Freddy uses Jason to find the Necronomicon to give Freddy power in the real world, and Ash wants to stop them both. See? Simple. But this one, even I had trouble following along, and had to go back and reread chapters to refresh my memory, and occasionally check Wikipedia to remind myself whom some of the characters were.

spoilers-ahead

This series opens just 24 hours after the end of the first one. Jason and the Necronomicon are trapped under the ice of the now-frozen Crystal Lake. Suddenly a bunch of black vans show up, with men in suits and heavily armed soldiers. The man in charge is Gordon Russell, the Director of some unnamed covert black-ops government agency, that’s based in the Pentagon. His men first dive into the lake to retrieve the Necronomicon so Russell can tap into its power. They get it, and Russell leaves with the book while instructing the rest of his men to retrieve Jason as well. But that doesn’t work, as Jason revives during the capture and slaughters everyone in his usual style, and then he hears his mother’s voice telling him to track down Ash and kill him.

Flashforward 6 months later, Ash is “retired” and leaving happily in a Chicago suburb with Carrie, the survivor girl from the last series. They’re planning a barbecue (it’s July), and while Ash goes out for groceries, Jason shows up at the house (how the heck did he get all the way from Crystal Lake, which is in New Jersey, to Chicago without being seen? NEVERMIND) and kills Carrie. When Ash gets back, he finds the body, and Carrie’s father arrives and assumes Ash killed her, so Ash has to go on the run to track down Jason and prove his innocence.

Ash then gets together with Maggie Burroughs (from Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare) who has teamed up with Dr. Neil Gordon (from A Nightmare On Elm St. 3: The Dream Warriors) to organize a support group of people who have survived encounters with Jason and Freddy, to help them all cope with the trauma and help defend others who may come in contact with evil monsters like them in the future. The group ends up comprising of Tina Shepard (Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood), Stephen Freeman and his daughter Stephanie (Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday), Rennie Wickham (Friday The 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan), Alice Johnson and her son Jacob (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4-5) & they’re eventually joined by Tommy Jarvis (Friday The 13th Part 4-6). Again, as I was saying, if you’re a hardcore fan of the franchises, you’ll probably be thrilled to see all these characters again, and they’re all mostly written in-character. Tina still has her telekinetic powers, Alice can bring people into her dreams, Rennie still has visions of where Jason is and what he’s doing, and Tommy is still obsessed with hunting down Jason and has amassed an arsenal of weapons to do it. But for a relative newbie, it may just seems like a bunch of random people thrown together. And other familiar characters make re-appearances too. The ghosts of the kids from A Nightmare on Elm St. 3 return, along with the ghosts of Freddy’s mother Amanda, and Nancy Thompson.

Meanwhile, Russell and his organization are trying to learn the secrets of the Necronomicon, and they end us releasing Freddy, back in his old human form & therefor seemingly powerless, into the real world, and lock him up in a cell (underneath the Pentagon) to try to lean his secrets. They also eventually catch Jason and lock him up too. But it turns out Freddy still has his powers, and he restores Jason to human form so Jason can lead a Deadite army to overrun Washington D.C., while Freddy plots to use the Necronomicon to conquer the world, all the while Ash and the survivors plan to stop them. But they have traitors from within…

And I think that’s enough spoilers for now.

Storywise it is, as I said, ambitious. But, overall, it just feels like this whole series was unnecessary. Nothing really new was added to the Freddy, Jason, or Ash mythos. This series ends with the characters in the same state as they were at the ending of the previous series: Ash is “retired” again, thinking Freddy and Jason have been defeated for good, yet there’s still hints of their possible returns. The art is also a bit weaker and inconsistent here.

GRADE:

Like it’s predecessor, it is out of print, so copies of the trade can be expensive.

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