Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CBR:Quickies Friday the 13th (Avatar Press)

And then there was a time a simple crossover wasn't enough.

And what we got was JASON VS. JASON X!!!

The monsters come out at night to hack and slash in these HORRIFIC reviews!

Long before WildStorm aquired the right to the Friday the 13th series in 2006, Jason Voorhees had already explored the comic book medium.

First in the early 1990s through Topps Comics' adaptation of the films, as as well as a crossover with Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface which the less said about it, the better.

But it wasn't until Avatar Press acquired the license that Jason finally got a proper treatment, fresh off a popular renewed interest in horror comic books thanks to such series as Hack/Slash.

Avatar launched several one-shots and other mini-series starting in May 2005, all more or less tied to an overall plot. And since this is Avatar we're talking about, that means each single issue got a dozen variant covers or so.

It's easy to get lost in those, that's why I decided to review the entire series below here.

These comics were all mostly supervised by writer Brian Pulido at the head of this franchise.

This marks Jason's first proper jump from horror movie franchise to comics.

This means the plot roughly picks up after the Freddy Vs. Jason film, where we found our unstoppable killing machine of a boogeyman at the center of the attention of various teams tracking him down for pharmaceutical and military purposes....

Comic title: Friday the 13th Special
Written by Brian Pulido
Art by Mike Wolfer
Format: One-shot issue Friday the 13th special.

If you seen any of the Friday the 13th movies, you know the drill!

Except there's a little twist this time!

Shortly after the events of Freddy vs. Jason, two siblings, Miles and Laura Upland, inherit Camp Crystal Lake.

They decide it's time to make a profit out of that cursed place and build a resort over the old "Camp Blood".

They hire a group of mercenaries to clean up the place... surely this time people will be able to defeat Jason? Right?

Overall: Back on its release date, this was a huge seller! But I "blame" that on the huge number of alternate covers...

If you've read any of Avatar Press comic before, you've seen all of them. They tend to favor artists with the same sensibilities, and that means highly detailed art, lots of gore, and T&A* (see Frank Miller's RoboCop for example). And Mike Wolfer is not an exception.

It looks pretty decent, and fitting for a slasher. But nothing for write home about.

The writing on another hand, while pretty simple is another story. With some clever back and forth and an original variation on the plot (people hunting Jason instead of the other way around) makes this issue a nice decent start for the series. And it's all thanks to Lady Death creator Brian Pulido!

Not necessary a must read, but a decent enough exposition and one-shot comic book for a first Friday the 13th at Avatar.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Friday the 13th: Bloodbath #1
Written by Brian Pulido
Art by Mike Wolfer
Format: Issue #1 from the mini-series Friday the 13th: Bloodbath.

While not a direct continuation of the previous one-shot, it does follow immediately where that prior comic left Jason.

Friday the 13th: Bloodbath sees a group of 10 teenagers joining "Camp Tomorrow" to clean it up and reform the old area at Crystal Lake.

But what they originally thought an easy paycheck turns out to be an operation lead by a mysterious organization to seek and capture Jason Voorhees.

Which explains their common backgrounds (all orphans) and affiliations to each other. It's like they were all set for each other. Like a slasher checklist, sex ensures which awakes the curse of Camp Blood.

Death ensures...

Overall: Thanks to the immense success of that previous one-shot, the same creative team returned for a 3-issue mini-series.

The story is pretty original actually, that's a nice change from the usual formulaic Friday the 13th story.

The same artist returned, Mike Wolfer, with decent if a bit dark colors from Andrew Dalhouse.

There's plenty of gore and there's some pretty original death sequences only the comic book medium can allow.

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Friday the 13th: Bloodbath #2
Written by Brian Pulido
Art by Mike Wolfer
Format: Issue #2 from the mini-series Friday the 13th: Bloodbath.

Picking up where the last issue left, Violet and Rich are running into the woods while Jason is hunting after them.

The organizer of Camp Tomorrow tries to reassure them, but he turns out to be working for that organization that was using the kids as bait for Jason.

Jason kill some more, they try to run off despite the organization's best efforts.

Finally, this para-military group is able to capture Jason Voorhees by freezing him!!

Overall: Jason captured! What a twist!

I got to say, there's some pretty neat looking panels in this issue, specially around Jason's capture. Even some great use of shadows and inking.

Only the second issue, and such a well paced and fast moving story.

Great issue. Nothing more to say.

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Friday the 13th: Bloodbath #3
Written by Brian Pulido
Art by Mike Wolfer
Format: Issue #3 from the mini-series Friday the 13th: Bloodbath.

Violet and Rich are now the only two left survivors.

They hide in the forest while avoiding the soldiers.

Violet frees Jason in an attempt to escape from her pursuers.

Jason is let loose on those fools.

They run off away from that cursed place...

Overall: Such an interesting and nice little Friday the 13th storyline.

The tables are turned on both Jason and the victims. The collateral damage in this? The military that tried to capture a slasher...

You can perfectly read "Bloodbath" as a self-contained 3-issue story. Even if it's part of the larger Avatar Press Friday the 13th series.

So, highly recommended for any Jason and horror movie fan!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Friday the 13th: Fearbook  
Written by Mike Wolfer
Art by Sebastian Fiumara
Format: One-shot issue Friday the 13th: Fearbook.

Taking place right where Bloodbath left, Violet was driving a car trying to escape with Rich wounded.

They have an accident, Violet is captured.

We finally discover some more informations about what these people wanted. Trent Organization wanted to experiment on the immortal undead killing machine that is Jason Voorhees. They could have made millions with him!

They keep our last survivor at their Crystal Lake headquarters... which will only result in a bloody carnage!

How could Jason forget "The One That Got Away"...?

Overall: Released in June 2006, this was Avatar's final Friday the 13th comic, which is another one-shot part of their on-going series.

The idea of this organization trying to get their hands on Jason is nothing new, and with the final reveal, it's a nice set up for the last film Jason X.

Speaking of which, "Fearbook" was actually released after the following Jason X comics I will cover right below (but I preferred to review them chronologically).

It was written by Mike Wolfer this time, he gave a nice send-off to Brian Pulido's series.

The art was particularly nice this time, thanks to the great work from Sebastian Fiumara.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Jason X Special  
Written by Brian Pulido
Art by Sebastian Fiumara 
Format: One-shot issue Jason X special.

This special issue picks up after the end of Jason X and tries to offer a little epilogue/send-off for the series.

The story takes place in 2455.

The spaceship where a cryogenically frozen Jason Voorhees was re-animated was travelling to Earth 2. Jason escaped and had killed everyone on board.

Remember when the reborn half-cybord Über-Jason ended on what appeared to be a recreation of Camp Crystal Lake on a new planet Earth? Turns out he was lured there by a bioengineer named Kristen.

Now on Earth Prime actually, Kristen wants to use Jason's regenerative abilities to save what's left of mankind on this forgotten planet.

But the super-powered Über-Jason escapes as always. And starts a new killing spree. Only he quickly finds out all these beings appear to be machines.. surely there are some real humans left for his machete?

Guiding Jason is also the omni-present voice of his long dead mother in his head...

Overall: This is another special issue from Avatar!

Pulido manage to get the crazy over-the-top tone of Jason X right. Meaning if you didn't like that B-movie, you surely won't like this comic either.

While the comic seems to return to a "Jason chases a survivor" formula, and thus is quite straightforward and very little happen in it, it is because it is merely a setting for last mini-series below.

The art is also from Sebastian Fiumara. Although I prefer his less sci-fi interiors.

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X #1
Written by Mike Wolfer
Art by Mike Wolfer
Format: Issue #1 from the mini-series Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X.

After the events of the previous special, Über-Jason ended on the SS Fun Club.. and started killing people in his path right away!

Meanwhile a salvage team discovers the spaceship Grendel left from the Jason X movie.

That is where "Jason X" was born, when a repair machine tried fixing him with a lack of human tissues available to rebuild him. But now there are plenty of dead bodies all around the place...

The team starts pillaging valuable assets, including the nano and cryo units in the science lab... that is when a regenerated Jason born from the rest of his brain enter the scene as... the "original" Jason Voorhees!

The pilot escape to the closest nearby spaceship around Earth 2... the same pleasure cruise where Über-Jason is already aboard.

But that is without counting the fact classic Jason was able to get on that same pod!

Soon both Jasons, old school and mechanically augmented, meet face to face!

A battle to the death ensures!!

Overall: It's very silly but, oh, so satisfying! A crossover like only comics are able to give us.

The curse of Camp Crystal Lake defy any logic and time itself!

It's a great fanservice to get both these Jasons face to face. It makes so very little sense, but it's fun!

This Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X was Avatar's last Friday the 13th series, it was published in February 2006 as a two-issue mini.

Mike Wolfer took the double-duty of both writing and drawing these issues. His art's a notch better than in his early Friday the 13th material.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Comic title: Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X #2
Written by Mike Wolfer
Art by Mike Wolfer
Format: Issue #2 from the mini-series Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X.

It's the showdown of a lifetime!

An undead reborn Jason Voorhees versus a cyborg Über-Jason fight to the death.

You know there can be only one survivor from this battle royale!

It's a combat of titans, cutting and slashing anything in their path.

The girl pilot from the previous story takes control of the Fun Club and starts a descent towards Earth 2 to crash the ship and kill both monsters once and for good!

Overall: Now, due to the non-sense of this story and epic-scale of this crossover, you knew no proper ending could be satisfying enough for such a tale.

And that's exactly what we got here.

One Jason has only images from his past memories... and the other vaguely remembers the voice of his mother. Now they both must complete the rest of their brains (see where this is going?).

The ending leaves a lot to be desired, it's kind of underwhelming. But, hey, at least it's surely better than the worst Friday the 13th movies! (Part V, VII or "Jason goes to Hell" come to mind..)

I give this one a: 1.5 / 3 Score!

And that is all for these Avatar Press-published Friday the 13th comic books!

Friday the 13th is one of these horror franchises that was able to make the jump from (long-running) horror film franchise to a television show, novels and even a videogame (... let's not talk about this one).

Comics were only a natural step at some point.

The character of Jason Voorhees does work relatively well in the comic book medium, they can even be able to slightly avoid the repetitive nature of these films when the writers manage to strand off the usual path.

Jason would go on to continue appearing in comics through WildStorm where he was given another series, followed by a couple one-shots.

Before a crossover with both Freddy Krueger and Dynamite's Army f Darkness series!

That's all for this time's Quickies!

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