Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Joel Gomez (p), Don Ho (i), Tony Avina (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
In today’s comic world, seldom does a new series' opening arc (or even an existing series with a new writer) have just three issues. After all, through a cursory glance one sees six, eight and in some cases, even twelve issue long "sagas." They are more like over extended, dragged out to death, decompression fests. However, even as small, tight and fast paced story arcs become some sort of a novelty, they are nothing compared to the endangered species that is the standalone "done in one" stories, which is what we have here in this fourth issue of Wildstorm Productions’ A Nightmare on Elm Street.
After last month’s ending, I for one was expecting a new story (arc?) involving the only survivor of the Arnstrum family, the father. His last line in issue #3 had me thinking that he could be hinting that he was going to continue in Springwood to find a way to stop Freddy. However, having read this month’s issue, another thought came to me. It could be possible that Arnstrum’s decision could have something to do with his daughter Jade’s heart beating within the six-year-old Lacey, the girl who helped him and Jade in combating Freddy in the, well, the Nightmare world.
Speaking of Lacey, this story is about her. An epilogue of sorts to the previous arc, this story stands up for itself and does it quite well. Having gotten the heart transplant (from Jade), Lacey is recovering and well at home now. However, whether by some magic from having gotten the heart of a dead girl, or by a lingering side effect of the "advantage" that the chemically induced coma gave her against Freddy, Lacey is still "untouchable" by the nightmare killer, and this really gets Freddy’s claws in a bunch. His inability to get even a snick on the little girl, or even her clothes or dolls for that matter, is affecting Freddy’s "work," meaning in his frustration he even lets a couple of victims go free (at least temporarily). One of them is a man who, to save his own hide, offers to become Freddy’s "agent" on the other side and track the girl down for him.
As for what happens next, that would be spoiling the issue completely. Suffice to say, not only does Freddy gets rid of the pestering girl (who goes from just being a thorn in his side to beating him up, and that too in his realm, with fluffy animals), his "agent" also gets to be free from Freddy’s control, permanently.
With a new penciller and inker, there is a change in the art. However, with colorist Tony Avina continuing his run, visually the overall ambience remains similar to the past three issues. As for Gomez, although a bit "lighter" than previous artist Kevin West, I found his style to be more than acceptable for the Freddy sections and highly enjoyable for the Lacey one. As for the cover, as much as I cannot stand him on Marvel’s Ultimate X-Men, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Ben Oliver on titles like this, titles that have a lot of gore and grittiness in them and that are better suited to his style than the flashy special effects requiring X-Men.
Conclusion: This series has a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) undercurrent of dark comedy in it that isn’t quite there in either of the other two "movie horror" titles currently available from Wildstorm (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday The 13th). With what I know about the character of Freddy Krueger I feel that this is something that is essential to any depiction of him, and kudos to writer Chuck Dixon for weaving it in here too.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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