Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jason Vs. Leatherface (Topps Comics)

Jason Vs. Leatherface (Topps Comics)

In 1995, Topps Comics released this 3-issue miniseries that depicts a meeting of the minds, so to speak, of the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises.  It's definitely not within continuity of any of the films. It's like an alternate reality version of both franchises, where the differences are small but many.

Jason Voorhees is wrapped in chains and trapped at the bottom of Crystal Lake, floating in the toxic runoff from the Linhart Amalgamated factory. Linhart, with dreams of building a swanky new headquarters, drains the lake, accidentally taking Jason along for the ride. He finds himself in a tanker car on a freight train headed for a New Mexico landfill. He escapes, slaughters the crew, and winds up in a familiar small town in Texas.

He meets up with Leatherface and his cannibalistic clan, and forms an unlikely friendship with the chainsaw-wielding maniac. He's taken in by the family and treated as one of their own...

...until things go sour.

Sure, it's outlandish, over the top, and kind of cheesy. But that's part of the fun. This is like a direct-to-video horror flick in a giant clamshell case, pure and unadulterated insanity.

There are some good moments hidden amongst the sleaze and cheese, though, like a number of brief flashbacks to Jason's childhood. Issue #2 even opens with Jason drowning in Crystal Lake as a boy! We also get a famous "dinner scene", a tour of the Cook's barbecue operation, and Jason hunting with the Hitchhiker.

As much as I enjoyed this batshit crazy series, I would have liked it more if there weren't the continuity changes that I had mentioned before. Yes, they were minor, but I'm something of a continuity freak. I'm sure it was some sort of legal issue--Topps was only licensed some of the characters or what have you--but come on. Jason's mother was a trim and classy small town lady named Pamela, not a grotesquely overweight white trash mama named DORIS! Leatherface's family's surname is Sawyer, living in an unnamed backwoods Texas town. Their name is not Slaughter, living in Sawyerville. And since when is Crystal Lake located in Vermont!?

Overall, a bit of an uneven experience. You have to take the good with the bad, though, and for fans of both franchises, this is the only opportunity to see both bad boys in action at the very same time.


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