Written by: Chuck Dixon
Penciled by: Kevin West
Inked by: Bob Almond
Colored by: Tony Avina
Lettered by: Wes Abbottt
Although I would classify this issue as an introductory issue, we have to deaths occurring in this issue, one of which takes place in the first two pages. Now, that’s a way to hook me. I love it when we have horror and terror on the first page. With that being said, let’s have a look-see…
We start with the introduction of Brandy Showalter, a high school student. She’s walking down the empty hall at school and stops at a bulletin board announcing the activities cancelations for that day. It’s typical stuff, band practice cancelled, teachers meeting, French club, football practice, etc. It’s a long list. It’s all the days activities. And as she gets down to the bottom of the list, she sees it...her name...Brandy Showalter CANCELLED. (That might put a damper on your day.) Then Freddy Krueger appears and we see her dead body in the next frame. Right after that, we see her sprawled out on her bed in her bedroom, dead, blood splatters everywhere.
Now, cut to our next character, Jade. We meet her as she’s sitting on a couch in the front lawn of her new home with her brother, Bradley. They’ve just moved to the area. They make it clear that, because of their father, they move A LOT. Also, apparently their mother died in a plane crash, five years earlier.
Just then, Jade sees a couple guys wheeling a dead body into a hearse a few houses down from them. A little blonde girl rolls up on a classic, plastic red, yellow and blue Big Wheel trike. She informs the two siblings that the name of the dead girl is Brandy. When Jade asks the little girl what happened, the child tells her, “Freddy.” She then asks her brother if he saw her. He did not. He tells her she must have dozed off. But when she looks back down the street she sees the hearse, it is really there. If the hearse is there, why not the little girl?
Later that night, she, her brother and her father are having a pizza delivery dinner and talking about how they all plan to make this the last move and the first day of school.
Then we see Jade sitting at a desk in a classroom…in her underwear. (Classic dream stemming from anxiety at minimum. Insert eye roll here.) The teacher is obviously very upset, thinking that Jade is pulling some kind of prank. Jade is super mortified and runs out of the classroom. She sees her brother in the hall at his locker and yells out to him…but he doesn’t answer. He closes his locker and walks away.
Our small child from the Big Wheel returns. She tells Jade that he can’t hear her, that he doesn’t know she is there. The child further explains that he is dreaming…as is she. Jade then realizes they are sharing the same dream. And the child disappears.
Jade goes down the hall to find her brother, Brad. She goes down a flight of stairs and she nearly steps in a puddle of something. She can smell it…gasoline. Just then a scarred, burned hand strikes a match.
Jade looks toward the ceiling and see Brad, tied to a desk. He begs for her to help him before “he” comes back. The next thing we see is the lit match falling…and Brad is on fire.
Jade wakes up screaming and runs to her brother’s room to find him burning to death. It’s ruled a suicide and they bury him.
After the funeral, Jade and her father go to get food, they are wanting to avoid their house. Over the meal, Jade’s father prods her, asking if there was anything that Brad mentioned that was bothering him, anything at all, he had to have a reason for starting the fire. Jade gets upset and tells her father it wasn’t suicide. He argues that the fire investigators say there’s no way the fire was an accident. Jade is contemplating telling her Dad about Freddy as she gulps down another cup of coffee. She’s been pounding the caffeine since they got to the restaurant. Her father mentions it and she tells him that she had a dream about Brad the night he died and she doesn’t want anymore of those dreams…implying she’s not planning to sleep. (Quick note: staying up for days at a time takes either a lot of practice and conditioning OR some severe drug use.)
Next, Jade is back at school, gym class. She hands her teacher a doctor’s note stating that she has burned her hand (trying to get to her brother) and csnnot get it wet. They are swimming this particular day. The gym teacher shoves cling wrap at her and tells her to wrap the bandage in plastic wrap and get changed for the pool.
Everyone in class is snickering and laughing at her as she gets in the pool. Frustrated, she starts her laps in the pool. As she’s swimming, all of a sudden, something grabs her foot…it’s a nasty, burned hand with knives on the fingers, yanking and pulling her down under the water. She frantically fights for her life and…BAM!! She wakes up in class, at her desk, soaked by her bottle of water that was on her desk. The teacher tells her to go clean herself up and she leaves.
She decides to skip the rest of the day and go to the coffee shop. She orders four of the strongest coffee they have, black. While there, this chick KayLee comments about the amount of coffee and they start up a conversation. KayLee points out that it’s a little early in the year to be slurping coffee and cramming for finals. And then she says…”Maybe this is about Freddy.”
Jade is completely caught off guard and asks her for confirmation that they are talking about the same guy. They are. Jade inquires about who he is and what he wants. (Can we have a horror plot where those questions AREN’T asked…a little generic and predictable.) KayLee explains the whole Freddy story. That he was a child molester. That the neighborhood parents hunted him down in a mob and burned him alive. And she explains that now he comes back for the teens of the town in their sleep, for revenge.
Jade takes all of this in and the asks KayLee about the small child from the Big Wheel. KayLee doesn’t know who she is or what Jade is talking about. She tells Jade to ask the child herself who she is. (I’m already thinking this small kid is a child version of Jade but, that’s just a guess.) Jade says that she might do that.
Later that night, Jade is watching TV on the couch, still drinking coffee and trying to stay awake. She hears, “Why don’t you go to bed, Kitten?” She replies she comfortable where she is. The male voice says, “Whatever you say, Kitten.”
Now, “kitten” is something she apparently doesn’t hear often. It obviously strikes her as odd. Then he says, “Why don’t I fluff those pillows for you, Jade.”
And with that, we see Freddy behind the couch, slashing at Jade as she screams in terror.
Her father races to her side and asks if she’s okay. She starts crying and trying to explain that it was Freddy, that he comes to them in their dreams, that HE’S the one who killed Bradley.
Her Dad goes to hug her and tell her that’s not possible but, he soon sees that her back is all slashed up, four slashes, like scratches.
He looks at his daughter and says, “You are going to tell me how this happened. You are going to tell me every single detail.”
I know this is the first issue in this particular Nightmare series so, I’m trying to keep an open mind. However, the writing seemed a little bland and slow moving, even though two people die in this issue. The artwork is good. Colors seem to be kept a little muted, in my opinion to emphasize the color of the blood in the murder frames. But, every other page in this comic book is some sort of advertising page. So, half this comic book is commercials, essentially. That’s like watching an hour-long program and only getting thirty minutes of actual show. It was kind of a let down and a little frustrating. I am hoping the next issue will be better. This one was very predictable and didn’t carry a lot of suspense factor to it. So, fingers crossed.