One of the most debated topics that geeks of every shape, size and degree have discussed is “who would win in a knock down, drag out fight between character X vs character Y”. The X’s and Y’s can be filled in with just about anyone… Batman vs. Superman, Spider-Man vs. Wolverine or Strawberry Shortcake vs. Rainbow Bright, it doesn’t matter who, you just better have some good reasons for your pick. A few years ago Hollywood decided to cash in on this kind of debate, and released Freddy vs. Jason; two of the most recognizable horror movie icons going at it for supremacy. It was a fun movie, plenty of winks and nods to the genre that they helped define as well as a reverence for the continuities that their prior movies created. I thought it did well enough at the box office that a sequel would be a no-brainer. We also thought how cool it would be if Ash, from the Evil Dead series was thrown into the mix to take on the two forces of evil. He would be a good verbal foil for Freddy’s one-liners and be willing to hack off a few limbs like Jason. Apparently an awful lot of people online thought the same thing. But here we are almost eight years later and no sequel. No movie sequel anyway. Whether it was script problems, scheduling problems, Bruce Campbell’s age(?), I don’t know. What we did get was this comic book mini-series, based on the film script for the movie that didn’t happen.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash picks up five years after the movie. Freddy is still alive, but in Jason’s subconscious. Freddy discovers that the Necronomicon, the book of the dead, was used to resurrect Jason and that it could be also be used to grant Freddy more power than ever. Ash has come to the town neighboring Camp Crystal Lake to whip the employees at the local S-Mart into shape. Upon discovering several dead teenagers and hearing the story of Jason from a local girl named Bree, Ash assumes Jason is a Deadite and that the Necronomicon is near. Once again, he must step up and fulfill his role as the Chosen One to defeat the Deadites.
The mini-series is plenty bloody and gory; lots of naughty teenagers meet their grisly demises, but the most fun obviously comes from the many confrontations and fights between the three stars. A few memorable moments spring to mind…Ash has a great nightmare confrontation with Freddy – it’s the infamous Evil Dead 2 scene where Ash’s hand goes bad, but instead of smashing dishes over Ash’s head, it grows Freddy’s signature blades from the fingertips. Ash has to cut off his bad hand, yet again. In another great moment, Ash lops Jason’s arm off with his chainsaw, which prompts Jason to stick his machete blade into the stump and wield the weapon that way. Ash didn’t think the idea was very original. Excellent stuff.
The artwork by Jason Craig is passable though the covers are what really shine, in particular those drawn by Eric Powell of The Goon fame… it’s too bad he didn’t draw the whole series, really. James Kuhoric’s script is also passable, both Freddy and Ash get some good one-liners though I do miss that Bruce Campbell delivery that really makes Ash such an entertaining character in the movies. The plot really tries to squeeze a lot into six issues, I’m not sure if they could have done everything that occurs within a 90 minute movie. It would have to be awfully brisk-paced. It’s hard to build up a lot of suspense with so much going on, and while the comic suffers a bit for it, I can understand the creators wanting to give the horror movie buffs their fill plus more.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash is a complete fan service that doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Over the top violence and dialogue is the name of the game, and that’s perefectly acceptable for what it is. It’s no Watchmen obviously but it’s a fun, light read that succeeds on most accounts. It’s just too bad this story didn’t make it to the big screen, it would have been quite a ride. I’d give the mini-series my recommendation to fans of any of these three pop culture icons.