Innovation’s Nightmares on Elm Street #1
The first thing that stands out about the book is the color. Unlike the initial Marvel releases, there’s no black and white here, just thick, rich colors that still look amazing. However, there are a few pages in which the radical color schemes serve as more of an interruption than an enhancer. Take for example the introductory page that credits the writer, illustrator, etc. – I wouldn’t have known that Andy Mangels wrote this book, and that Tony Harris illustrated, if not for the web. The coloring is so conflicting to the eye I find it literally impossible to make out those credits. That’s a hideous design there. Thank goodness that’s one of the only times we run into this problem, because it’s mighty frustrating. Anyhow, there’s more than visuals to talk about in the case of Innovation’s Nightmares on Elm Street, and the vast majority of chatter you’ll hear from me is positive.
Nancy Thompson has an entirely different presence in this story as well, as we open with focus on Cybil Houch, who’s been having nightmares as of late – of the burned one, of course – and Nancy’s home has popped up in one of those nightmares. In an attempt to sort things out, Cybil takes on the mission of finding Nancy, first touching bases with old college buddies and then reaching out to Fairview, the hospital where Nancy worked when a series of patients found themselves standing in Freddy’s direct path. Sometime after Krueger’s slaughter at the hospital – she’s informed by a doctor at the facility – Nancy passed away.
Now that does and doesn’t come as a shocker. You never know how closely a comic or graphic novel will follow a pre-existing storyline, and you just never know what may or may not be canon.
It’s nice how Fairview serves as the pseudo-Westin Hospital, and it’s nice to get a flashback page loaded with frames mimicking, or nodding (to) the deaths featured in the third Nightmare film, Dream Warriors. It’s also rather rewarding seeing that Neil Gordon is once more involved in the narrative, as he enters into a significant role midway through the first issue.
Gordon is eager to meet with Cybil, knowing what Freddy Krueger is capable of. He’s quite alarmed by the very thought of that monster, and he knows he’s got to get to Cybil quickly. But Cybil just so happens to pass out (this is a sketchy moment in the book for me, as it feels like uninspired filler for a detail the creative crew couldn’t nail) and of course finds herself in Freddy’s world.
In this moment we get a series of images from Freddy’s boiler room, and I can’t begin to express how impressive the color scheme is on page. It’s essentially all black and differing shades of red, but it looks brilliant and it’s hard to pull your eyes from the book. It may not be a fantastic moment for Cybil, who’s now in the worst of places, even giving up any hope for the element of surprise, or a neutral territory, but for the reader, this is magnificent stuff. The stuff of dreams, you might say.
Admiration aside, we get back to the nightmare, where Cybil is forced to watch as Freddy taps into the mind of James, her husband. And old Krueger has his way with the poor fool, guiding him to a painful death. Cybil is left to stare and scream, something Krueger feeds on.
We get a break from Freddyland as the book reaches conclusion. There stands Nancy, looking alive and well. “Freddy’s getting worse,” she says. “And he knows I’m alive.”
Issue two is going to be a blast!