A Nightmare on Elm Street

Author: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Kevin West
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 634 4
ISBN-10: 1 84576 634 2
Available 26 October 2007

An ex-career soldier moves with his two teenage children to Springwood, but no sooner do they arrive than a mutilated body is removed by police from a house across the road. Jade immediately begins experiencing frightening nightmares every time she sleeps, balanced only by a mysterious benign little girl who tries to warn her. When she shares a dream with her brother and witnesses his brutal death, she realises her own life is very much at risk. Then she meets goth girl Kaylee, who tells her about Freddy Krueger...

Freddy appears to be centring his attention on a group of brainy geeks at a school. After three of them are violently dispatched, the others get together to formulate a way to fight back. There is the suggestion of summoning an Aztec dream demon to fight Krueger, but for that a sacrifice is required and that begins a dissension in ranks.

There's a certain amount of happenstance conformity at play here. My last review was of Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing, and here I am reviewing a graphic novel based on his best-known creation immediately afterward.

I am pleasantly surprised by this book for two fundamental reasons. The first is I naturally thought the story would be based on the script for the first Nightmare film, but instead we have two original tales. Secondly, I'm not a huge fan of the Freddy films, because for me wisecracking and punning at every opportunity negates the chill factor very much present with the silent but deadly Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Happily, I can report that Freddy's "cleverness" is kept to a bear minimum.

Both stories, written by Chuck Dixon, are entertaining and different in their dream environments. The first, Freddy's War, is more traditional, but works better for its simplicity. The idea of imagining your own weapons in a dream comes straight out of Graham Masterton's Dream Warrior books, but Freddy has a bizarre answer to the firepower.

Much of The Demon of Sleep takes place in an Aztec location, wherein Freddy himself is used sparingly as the major player. The dream demon, as realised by Kevin West and Bob Almond, reminded me somewhat of the Beast from the X-Men, but I'm only nitpicking here.

On the whole this is an impressive release.

Ty Power

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