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13.4.12

WRITTEN REVIEW: Jason Vs Leatherface

By CORY CARR
Hello there! It's been a while but here we are again, celebrating another gore filled Friday the 13th! I wanted to do something special for this Friday the 13th review. Something a little different. Something a little weird, and maybe just a little bit sexy. But, at the last minute I changed my mind.

So, instead I will be discussing the three part comic book mini series JASON VS LEATHERFACE! This mini was published late in '95 by TOPPS Comics. An imprint of the same TOPPS that made baseball cards for decades and were also responsible for the Garbage Pail Kids and Dinosaurs Attack! cards. In the 90's TOPPS expanded it's comic line by acquiring a series of well known licenses such as Mars Attacks, Xena, Lone Ranger, The X-Files and of course Jason.

With rumors of a Freddy VS Jason film in the works [keep in mind that those rumors were a decade old by the time the film was actually made], it was only a matter of time before some other smart guy decided that they wanted to create a slasher mash-up of their own.


Now that your history lesson is over, lets begin shall we?

ISSUE 1: Goin' South
We start off at Crystal Lake, the once lovely summer home of so many young children, which has become a vacant and polluted wasteland due to it's new resident, Linhart Amalgamated Industries. The head of Linhart has chosen to build it's plant at Crystal Lake for one reason and one reason only, the legend of Jason Voorhees. Knowing that people are too afraid to make the lake a vacation destination, the company is free from the prying eyes of the public to do what it wants, which happens to be the dumping of thousands of gallons of chemical waste into Crystal Lake.

Things are fine and dandy until Linhart Industries receives a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency stating that action needs to be taken to clean the pollution from the area. The lake itself has been so badly damaged that it can't successfully be rehabilitated. At this point the brains behind Linhart Industries decides to have the lake dredged and all of it's contents shipped off to a disposal facility. What will become of Crystal Lake then? Well Linhart is planning the construction of a new high rise building that will sit on the very spot Crystal Lake once was and will act as the companies new prestigious base of operations.

It's at this point in the story when we always meet that loveable doomsday prophet. Ranting and raving about death curses and what not. Here we are greeted by a seemingly not dead, but very "alive" Ralph from the first two Friday the 13th films. Right smack dab in the middle of the dredging, Ralph decides to get involved. He explains that all the noise will wake up Jason, who has been chained to the bottom of the lake for, god knows how long.


I'm not exactly sure where in the Friday the 13th time line this is taking place. Somewhere between the 6th and 8th movies I suppose, but It doesn't really matter. Jason is at the bottom of the lake when he gets dredged into a shipping container.

The container makes its way across the country by train, from New Hampshire [though the movie takes place in New Jersey] to the great state of Texas. All the while Jason has been loosening his binds and is now ready to do some machete slashin'. He starts with a hobo and his dog named Winky, then moves on to the four or five man crew who operate the train. None survive, not even the train.


Soon after, Jason finds himself "on the road again" and strolling through the back woods of Swayerville, "home of the best bar-b-que in texas", when he encounters a young man running for his life. The man exclaims that he is being hunter and begs Jason for help. Just then, two mysterious strangers [the hunters] witness Jason raise the machete high above his head and decapitate the young man.

The two hunters step forward and reveal that they are the Hitch Hiker and Leatherface. It appears that Jason has wondered into their territory and just interfered with their hunt. The three men get to fussin' and a feudin', but soon the Hitch Hiker and Leatherface realize that Jason has a killers talent. He isn't like all those city slickers that end up on their grill, he is in some ways like them and they invite him home for dinner.


ISSUE 2: A Day In The Life...
As you can tell from the cover of this issue, it starts to get strange. While the first issue reminded me of Friday the 13th Part 8, this issue reminds me of Texas Chainsaw 2, weird and different. Jason becomes one of the family, as he is lead around their home we get to see how they live and all the weird shit that they do in their daily lives.

This issue is rather uneventful. The Cook [head of the household] asks Jason to accompany the Hitch Hiker on a kill. This makes the ever self conscious Leatherface upset. He sees the Cook showing favoritism of Jason. To make things worse for Leatherface, the Hitch Hiker is constantly making fun and pushing him around.

Jason never speaks, big surprise, however the narration speaks for him, explaining his every thought and emotion. Yeah, Jason has emotions. He feels less alone, less of a freak around his new friends. He feels empathy for Leatherface. Leatherface reminds Jason of himself as a boy. How he was bullied by other children and his father, or step father, or mother's boyfriend. Comparing this mini series to the films I don't who the hell he is supposed to be. Anyhow... Jason even attacks the Hitch Hiker in defense of Leatherface but is soon stopped by Leatherface and the three get ready for dinner.


Jason's new emotions confuse and frighten him. To tell you the truth, they confuse and frighten me too. Is it just me or is this turning into some weird slasher romance story? "Broke Back Murder" is what the damn thing should be called! Someone should get Jason one of those dumb "End Bullying" wristbands for all of his hard work!.. It's okay... Calm down... There shall be bloodshed soon, I hope.

ISSUE 3: Face Off
As the dinner table is being set, the Hitch Hiker storms in and begins screaming at poor Leatherface for leaving finger prints on his prized copy of Iron Man #1 [Pretty spiffy if you ask me]. Things escalate and the Hitch Hiker gets it in his head that he'll teach Leatherface a lesson that he'll never forget. Again Jason steps in and this time he means businessmen. It doesn't take much before he and the Cook get the picture that Jason isn't some push over. He begins to chase them both through the house, decapitating mummified loved ones as they go.


Seeing that the lives of his freak family are in danger, Leatherface runs for his chainsaw and the two murderous madmen duke it out. Jason begins having feelings again, and is hesitant to trade blows with Leatherface. He doesn't want to hurt his new friend, but things change once Jason is wounded by a glancing strike from Leatherface's chainsaw. Leatherface and his family are just like everyone he has ever known, hurtful. To bad this is a comic and not a movie, this could be an Oscar winning moment here.

Distracted by Leatherface, Hitch Hiker is able to get the drop on Jason by crowning him a with his hammer. Jason falls limp and "He's got brain leakin' out his ears!". There is a brief discussion about whether of not the family will make sweat southern bar-b-que with Jason meat. The Cook takes control of the situation. Proclaiming that Jason wasn't like all the rest and deserves a proper send off. The family prepare Jason by tying bricks to his legs. Like so many times before, Jason will find himself in a watery grave.

As the body is being lowered into the water, Hitch Hiker protests;
HITCH: If you ask me, this is just a waste of perfectly good meat! We could always make jerky outta him.

COOK: No one's askin' you, Hitch!

COOK: I just couldn't bring myself to serve poor Jason here up in a stew. That's your problem, Hitch! You never think about other folks's feelings!


Jason slowly makes his way to the bottom of the lake and as he does, he awakens. He also starts having feelings again. He begins to think of how comforting the water is, and how his life always seems to begin and end in water. This reminds him of his mother and some fairy tale that she often told him. Thinking of the water and his mother, he is reminded of home, Camp Crystal Lake, and how far away from it he must be. With machete in hand. Jason cuts through the ropes and makes his way home.


THE VERDICT:
Well, this is probably one of the strangest things I've ever read. I'm almost at a loss for words. There were a few ideas that I liked, but the rest left me confused and feeling dirty. Maybe it will just be easier for me to break it down into things that I liked and things that I disliked.

First I would just like to point out the AMAZING cover art by artist Simon Bisley. He has done a lot of comic book covers for a lot of different publishers in the U.K. [Heavy Metal, 20 A.D.] as well as here in the states [Marvel, DC, Danzig]. The covers alone would have sucked me into buying this series as it came out.

I also enjoyed the idea of Crystal Lake being polluted and that being the explanation as to how Jason made his way to Texas. I found it to be not to different from any other gimmick that may have been used late in the Friday the 13th franchise and rather clever.

The Texas Chainsaw family wasn't bad either. Don't get me wrong, they're goofy as all hell but their dialogue and characters didn't stray too far from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and if I may say, I have always found that film to be enjoyable [for better or worse].

Now, let's see, what didn't I like?.. Oh, I don't know, EVERYTHING ELSE! I understand that it must be hard writing for characters that don't talk, but come on! Jason doesn't have feelings! He's not even alive, he's more undead if anything. It felt like I was reading some Rob Zombie re-imagining of the 1998 film Great Expectations. Ya know, the one based on the book of the same title, starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Robert De Niro. About a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman but can never attain her because from a young age she was taught not to love and to be more of a predator to ensure that she never has her heart broken. Time and time again he tries to win her over but each and every time she leaves him devastated. Yeah, it's like that! A big dumb fuckin' mess, just like that! I don't think I'll be able to wash the dirty off.

Here's an idea, we pretend that the Friday the 13th television series never happened, but instead there was a show based on what followed this comic. I hope I didn't lose you, stick with me. Each episode Jason is in an all new town and he gets to meet all sorts of new people. He goes on adventures and helps folks as he makes his way back home to Jersey. Kind of like Quantum Leap, or Kung Fu but with a hokey mask... Yeah, you're right, that's an EQUALLY BAD IDEA!! [lol I couldn't even keep a straight face as I wrote that]

I would however like to see a sequel to this, also a monster mash-up of sorts. The idea is that Jason slowly makes his way back home only to find that Linhart Amalgamated Industries has gone bankrupt and can't continue with their plans to build on top of Crystal Lake. Still polluted, the lake has taken new residents, ones who have grown accustomed to filth and chemical waste. None other than the Toxic Avenger and his wife. Jason, offended by his home being inhabited by a loving and caring couple, is sent into a rage. Battle ensues.




JASON VS LEATHERFACE

★ ★

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2 comments:

Kaijinu said...

I've always been eyeing on this comic! Thanks for the awesome review!

SLAUGHTER FILM said...

Well thanks! This set is rather rare from what I've learned. These issued go for $30-ish on Ebay and Amazon. They don't seem like too bad of a set for a horror fan of both the Friday the 13th and Chainsaw franchises to try yo hunt down. But then again, they're pricey. I think that if I happen across them and they are cheap, I just may buy them for the hell of it. - Cory