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"Nightmare #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson


Written by Malissa White
Illustrated by Benjamin Worrell
Inked by Brett Ruppert
Colored by Raciel Avila Silva
Lettered by CJ Jeffrey
2018, 28 Pages


If I've learned anything from Nightmare on Elm Street, it's that dreams can be terrifying. Luz has been having trouble sleeping for some time, as she's plagued by nightmares of her past where she was the victim of horrific experiments by a deranged doctor. She and the other survivors are collectively known as the Sleepyheads. Luz has done her best to put that in her rear-view mirror but some new events have put this tragedy front and center and she's in the crosshairs of a killer once again.

We don't know all the details as to what happened to the Sleepyheads, but there's more than enough to pull you in. Writer Malissa White drops hints organically through the story, so you're not hit over the head with an exposition dump. Instead, you get these drips and drabs with just the right amount of information as to intrigue you without overloading you.

You get a good sense of the trauma Luz has gone through and how it's still affecting her today. Artist Benjamin Worrell moves us from the dreaming world to the waking one in a way that we're not entirely sure where one ends and the other begins. This heightens the tension of the story considerably, as you're never certain what's real and what's not. As Nightmare continues, you start to see how events in the dream can have an effect on real life.

Nightmare thrives in the shadows. Darkness lurks around Luz wherever she goes. This creates a constant sense of foreboding, like things are only going to get worse for her the deeper we go. Colorist Raciel Avila Silva uses these darker shades well to amplify that dread. It also makes the blood stand out on the page in a fierce crimson.

Luz's safe spaces like her home and the radio station where she works are shown in a warmer light. These are the few places where she can relax. You can see a marked change in her demeanor and how she carries herself.

Nightmare incorporates a number of different communication tactics. Letterer CJ Jeffrey keeps the story moving with a mix of traditional word balloons for the real-life scenes and twisted and distorted ones in the dream world. There are also some sequences where Luz is talking through text message, so you see her phone screen pop up on the page which is a nice touch.

Nightmare is off to an impressive start, especially for an indie comic. It's built a strong base with this debut issue, introducing us to Luz's world and giving us just enough information to make us clamor for more when you reach the cliffhanger ending.


Story: fourstars Cover
Art: fourstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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