Comic Book Review: Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash

Believe it or not, there was indeed a “sequel” to 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason … but in comic book form! That is, the six-issue limited comic book series released in November 2007 through March 2008, and published by WildStorm and Dynamite Entertainment. WildStorm was an imprint under DC Comics. Dynamite Entertainment appears, going by Wikipedia, to be an imprint of Dynamite Forces that primarily publishes adaptations of franchises from other media. That makes sense for this given that this comic book series was based on the Freddy vs. Jason 2 film treatment by Jeff Katz. Katz apparently started his career in pro wrestling, and then moved on to Freddy vs. Jason, as a producer with New Line Cinema, and comic books … alrighty then.

“Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash was something I was uniquely prepared for as I was the exec on Freddy vs. Jason and Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash started as a “dream movie” in my head.” Katz told Comic Related in 2008.

The story was written by James Kuhoric and illustrated by Jason Craig.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m rather weak on my Evil Dead knowledge. I’ve seen the first film and that’s about it. I honestly don’t remember it much, and don’t even remember if I liked it or not. So I’m not as familiar with that world and the Ash character (played by Bruce Campbell), but apparently, a lot of people thought it made sense for a follow-up to Freddy vs. Jason to have it be Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, because Ash is the sort of anti-hero that could take on those two horror icons.

For that reason, though, of not being as familiar with Ash, the prospect of adding him to the fight doesn’t intrigue me as much. I know they’ve also talked about adding Hellraiser, and again, having not seen those films (besides vaguely the first one), that doesn’t interest me either. Obviously, adding Michael Myers would interest me, but also, I’m not sure how that would even work.

This crossover-on-crossover action is not that far off base, though. In Jason Goes to Hell, there was the “easter egg” of the Necronomicon book that’s featured in the Evil Dead movies. If one crossover between two horror franchises and icons took 10 years of development hell, it’s easy to see why adding a third crossover with a third horror franchise and icon was doomed from the start. For one, Robert Englund, who plays Freddy Krueger, said New Line Cinema didn’t want Freddy Krueger to lose again, as he surely would have against Ash.

Issue #1 of 6

So this picks up five years after the events of the film, so we’re in 2007. We’ve picked up something we saw in earlier iterations of the Friday the 13th franchise (Jason Lives): Referring to the area as Forest Green instead of Crystal Lake to try to remove the stain of Jason Voorhees. We’re also back with Will and Laurie, the lone survivors of the film, and who for some reason, are coming back to Camp Crystal Lake. And also much like Jason Lives, Laurie, much like Tommy Jarvis in that film, needs to make sure that Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees are actually dead. She needs to know!

Also worth pointing out that the early parts of this comic have something fans of the Friday the 13th franchise have always wanted to see: Camp Crystal Lake during the winter. Out of 12 films, we’ve never seen snow.

Will didn’t last long. He’s killed early on.

I’m enjoying the artwork in this one, check out this panel when Jason Voorhees turns his ire to Laurie:

But she’s able to beat him back with a chainsaw where he falls through a second story cabin window. I spoke too soon. Jason Voorhees popped back up in front of the door and took a machete right to her face, and in a nice twist, the narration we’ve been following along so far — about being the “chosen one” and that it’s a destiny of sorts to take on these killers — comes from Ash. Welp, that sucked to see Laurie and Will killed so soon, but you needed a way to setup Ash, and that was a clever switch on the narration.

We see that Jason Voorhees has his mother, Pamela Voorhees’, head, but also the head of Freddy Krueger. As with the film, Freddy Krueger is trying to get Jason Voorhees to do his bidding, this time to retrieve the Necronomicon book, aka The Book of the Dead from both Jason Goes to Hell, but most notably the Evil Dead franchise. Presumably, that’ll be a way for Freddy Krueger to come back, and he’s pitching it to Jason Voorhees as a way to get Freddy Krueger out of his head.

Issue #2 of 6

What a cool cover that is!

Ash’s cover at this point is that he’s a “domestic engineer” for the housewares department at S-Mart, a new mall at Crystal Lake. For some reason, Ash almost gets arrested for the murders of a few girls outside the store, courtesy of Jason Voorhees, but the police let him go when they realize he was in the store at the time.

“Things like the Deadites, ancient Kandarian demons that want to turn you inside out and wear your flesh like a full-body condom.” – is certainly a sentence that Ash said to the other works at the S-Mart.

As with a lot of the films, Jason Voorhees, despite killing hundreds of kids at this point, and the battle with Freddy Krueger only five years earlier, is thought more myth and legend than real life killing machine. Anything more attributed to him is usually thought the work of a copycat.

I just love these images of Jason Voorhees juxtaposed with winter and Christmas iconography. It’s something we haven’t seen before! Like this panel, where he kills a bunch of Christmas carolers. Give me the Jason Voorhees Black Christmas crossover!

The kills are brutal in this comic. Jason Voorhees is spilling blood and guts every which way he turns. When Ash goes to retrieve the book, we get the first fight between him and Jason Voorhees, mostly ending (for now) with Ash using a gun on him.

Issue #3 of 6

That covers makes Jason Voorhees look like the Empire State Building and Freddy Krueger King Kong. I’ll say this up to this point, people wanted more Jason Voorhees in the Freddy vs. Jason film, and so far, two issues completed, Freddy Krueger is not front and center … yet. Remember in that film, speaking of, when Kelly Rowland’s character said “f*ggot”? And how, even at the time, it was seen as bad? Well, we’re in the year 2007 and they’ve doubled down on Freddy Krueger, this time, calling Jason Voorhees that. Come on. It’s gross. And yes, I get it, Freddy Krueger is a child molesting serial killer, but we don’t need to use that word to get the point across of how evil he is.

If you’ve somehow been reading all my writings about Friday the 13th, one of my favorite images is when Jason Voorhees (or any of these horror icons) show up amid a group of people. It’s a rare sight. In this issue, Jason Voorhees shows up at the S-Mart in front of a bunch of shoppers! He even bashes a poor old man’s head in with a shopping cart. And I’m cracking up over it. This is great. I know, I’m weird.

Corny as all hell, but I dig it: Ash calls Jason Voorhees Wayne Deadski. Ha. HERE WE GO:

Almost to the end of Issue #3 and we get the first real nightmare on Ash, where his hand is “whole again,” but then turns into a claw, similar to Freddy Krueger’s.

It’s worth pointing out again how superb the artwork is.

Issue #4 of 6

I will admit, Freddy Krueger’s quips in this one are a lot better than some of the films. He calls Ash an Elvis impersonator, which is clever, and attacks Ash with his own severed hand in the dream world. There’s also a lot of balls jokes when he basically kills Dave through a game of dodge ball.

Freddy Krueger pulled an Ozymandias from the Watchmen graphic novel: In that, Ozymandias is laying out his plan, and Rorschach thinks he won’t get away with it. Then Ozymandias (or maybe it’s Doctor Manhattan) informs him that it’s already done. The plan has already happened, and he’s only telling him about it now. Usually the trope is that the bad guy tells the plan before doing the plan. It’s a nice inversion. Freddy Krueger does that here with Ash by talking about using the book to take over both the nightmare world and the waking world. Ash thinks he won’t get away with it. But! Too late, he’s already done it.

However, as was the case in the film, Jason Voorhees is a killing machine, who even Freddy Krueger can’t puppet around forever. Jason Voorhees is itching for a fight with Freddy Krueger again. Yet, Freddy Krueger is ready for it in one of the most unique ways in the entire Friday the 13th franchise: He has Jason Voorhees’ victims rise up and fight him. That’s fun.

Issue #5 of 6

What another fantastic, gorgeous cover. Ash is over here biting into the head of a Deadite bird. Ew. Again, I’m not as familiar with this character, but from what I’ve gathered so far, including that sick scene, he’s the perfect guy — the chosen one, if you will — to take on these two horror psychos. He’s rugged, takes a beating, and keeps on coming. Also, unlike all the “final girls” in these films, he accepts that his fate is to take them on.

I think it’s a pretty inventive concept to use the book as a means to have Freddy Krueger able to alter actual reality and not just the “reality” of dreams. That’s nightmare fuel! That works to fun effect when Freddy Krueger plops them into Nancy’s house on Elm Street with the children singing the awful nursery rhyme.

Also, even though it’s been clear for a while now, Issue #5 confirms that Jason Voorhees is indeed a Deadite and that’s how he was able to come back to life.

It takes almost to the end of Issue #5 before we get our first Freddy vs. Jason action. Then Ash comes in, and slashes Jason Voorhees’ arm off. After which, in a cool moment, Jason Voorhees takes the machete and makes it his new arm.

Issue #6 of 6

Here we go, the final issue and showdown.

“But just like you don’t step on the King’s blue suede shoes, you can’t put the Detroit Deadite stomper down with a little plate glass to the face.” – Ash, being cool

I mean, there’s not much to say. I’m just enjoying the action of all three of them battling it out now. If anything, so far, Jason Voorhees seems the weakest of the three. After all, Ash, chosen one or not, is a human, taking it to these two and surviving so far. Freddy Krueger even remarks, with no hint of irony, that Ash talks too much.

Ash and Carrie are able to “win” (I wonder if they intentionally named her Carrie after that book/film) and send Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and the book to the dread dimension of the Deadites.

As usual, though, we seem to get a tease that it’s not the end, as we end on Jason Voorhees opened eyeball and the “ch-ch-ch ah-ah-ah.”

Overall, that was a fun book and an inventive storyline to bring Ash into the mix. We got some nice nods to prior films, but also some new things we’ve never seen in the films before, like Jason Voorhees in the winter, Freddy Krueger able to manipulate the waking world’s reality, and Jason Voorhees’ own victims rising up to attack him. And all of it done with some great, brutal artwork.

Now? I would have loved to have seen this film. The action would’ve been … wait for it … killer. I take back what I said about not being that interested in throwing Ash into this fight. I highly recommend you, dear reader of this blog, track down this graphic novel and give it a read!

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