Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday the 13th: Bad Land (Wildstorm Comics)

Friday the 13th: Bad Land

This 2008 two-issue miniseries from Wildstorm Comics features two different stories from two different time periods being told concurrently.

The first story takes place hundreds of years ago, before the Crystal Lake area was settled, and three pioneers--Joseph, Ben and Ethan--find themselves stuck in a horrible snowstorm. They seek shelter in a Native American dwelling where a woman and her baby are hunkered down, but their unscrupulous behavior earns them the ire of her husband when he comes in from the cold.

The second story takes place in modern times, with three hikers--Jeremy, Phil and Diane--lost in a horrible snowstorm. They seek shelter in an empty cabin (which is actually a cabin house within Camp Crystal Lake), but when Phil learns that Jeremy and Diane have been carrying on a secret relationship behind his back, his jealousy sends him back into the snowstorm in anger--where Jason Voorhees is waiting.

The stories have plenty of similarities, but a good number of differences as well. Although the Native American husband is standing in for Jason in the past, the major difference is that the pioneers (at least two of them) deserved their punishment, whereas these hikers in modern day were virtual innocents. But then again, Jason is obviously working under a different moral compass than the rest of us.

In both timelines, just as the bloodshed has begun, one remorseful character begins declaring "This is a bad place...a bad place...a bad place", perhaps suggesting that the area truly is cursed, although smart money is on the fact that the scenes from the first story are the cause of the curse, not the result of it.

I enjoyed this story because it added to the mythology of the franchise through suggestion, not through blatant statement. We're never specifically told that these events are tied together, they merely unfold side-by-side, and we're left to make our own deductions. Given the urban legend/ghost story nature of Jason Voorhees, this makes a lot more sense.

There's plenty of sex and violence, though the artwork is occasionally sketchy. There are times when it's difficult to tell some of the characters apart, especially two of the pioneers, and Jason is depicted as a hulking brute, but his wrists are so thin and frail that I doubt he could lift his machete, much less embed it in somebody's skull.

Depicting these events in a blizzard was a novel idea, as we've never seen Crystal Lake out of season. The stark white backgrounds make for a great contrast to the plethora of red ink.


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