Yours Truly, Freddy Krueger
The first two issues of this 1991 Innovation Comics series are something of a direct sequel to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS. Amateur Ripperologist (one who continues to investigate the crimes of Jack the Ripper) Cybil Houch has been having nightmares in which she’s being stalked through Victorian England by a shadowy character that she initially believes to be the infamous killer, but turns out to be a different infamous killer altogether: Freddy Krueger.
Cybil isn’t from Springwood, she never lived on Elm Street, and she doesn’t even know who this Krueger fellow is. So why is she being stalked in her nightmares? Because of her connection to the franchise’s favorite Final Girl: she was college roommates with Nancy Thompson, and Freddy is using Cybil to get to her.
It seems that Nancy is still alive, in some fashion. Her consciousness continues to exist in an ethereal world called The Beautiful Dream, where Kirsten sent her as Nancy was dying in her arms. Her experience with Krueger, and her studies into sleep, have allowed her to survive in the dream world where she continues to learn and grow stronger in hopes of someday defeating him once and for all.
Nancy isn’t the only DREAM WARRIOR alumnus to appear in the story. Dr. Neil Gordon plays a pretty significant role here, Dr. Elizabeth Simms shows up a dream sequence, and a few others can be seen in the backgrounds of single-panel flashbacks. Even Jacob, the titular Dream Child from NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 warrants a casual mention.
The notion of various realms isn’t entirely new to the franchise, but it does add an interesting element to the mythology. We already knew that Freddy resided in a nightmare dimension, and we caught a glimpse of another world in the short-lived Marvel Comics series, but the Beautiful Dream (not to mention the Land of the Unborn Baby, where the story takes a pivotal turn) is a new addition. They both make sense, in their own way.
In NIGHTMARE 3, it is revealed that Freddy consumes the souls of those he kills to increase his strength. If there is a soul, there is a Heaven and a Hell where those souls go to after they die—this would explain where those souls are before arriving on Earth.
As for the Beautiful Dream, the logistics get a bit more difficult to conceive. If Freddy’s Nightmare Realm exists as a very real place, it only makes sense that our dreams would be an equally real domain that exists even when our consciousness isn’t visiting it—hence the ability of the Dream Warriors to go there together. How Kirsten sent Nancy there, and how she remains protected from Krueger within it, isn’t entirely known. But I imagine it is a small segment of the dream world at large, somehow folded upon itself in an infinite loop like a Möbius strip.
These do make interesting additions to the mythos, but overall this story arc is nothing too phenomenal. It was nice to revisit old friends, but as a whole it feels somewhat incomplete, like 30 minutes of a film instead of the full 90. If the storyline had been given a few more issues to blossom, it could have really been something—the sequel we had all hoped for.
The story was written by Andy Mangels, who wrote all of the issues for Innovation, which will give the series an authorial voice as it unfolds. The covers by Miles Teves (issue #1) and Jason Palmer (issue #2) are both fantastic, while the interior painted artwork by Tony Harris is more uneven. It works well for some of the nightmare scenes (the opening Jack the Ripper sequence is a particular standout), however it gets occasionally murky and is sometimes difficult to make out exactly what is going on—which is true of much painted comic work. Harris has gone on to some fantastic pencils since these issues, but this was fairly early in his career.
Innovation released four more issues in the series, leading into the film FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE, before filing for bankruptcy. Which is a shame, as things were just about to start getting good…