Halloween: Nightdance #1 of 4
Written by Stefan Hutchinson
Illustrated by Tim Seeley
Colors by Elizabeth John
Lettered by Clem Robbins
Devil’s Due Publishing &
Cover Price: $3.50; Available Now
It is the weekend of Halloween in the year 2000, over two decades since Michael Myer‘s infamous return to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. Lisa, a teenager who lives in Russellville, Illinois, is haunted by distant memories from her childhood, and wonders if she will ever be able to forget the past. One of the things that keeps her going are the daily drawings she receives from a boy she used to babysit, but on this day those drawings turn disturbingly violent!
Meanwhile, Marcie and her boyfriend Ryan are making an impromptu visit to Russellville when Marcie doesn’t hear from her mom and becomes worried. With their long drive to the small town almost over and fatigue setting, Ryan is too tired to react in time when a young teenager runs out in front of their car and he hits her head on. As Marcie and Ryan try to get their bearings and check to see if the girl is still alive, a figure steps out of the darkness, and as a sheet of fear is drapes over them, they discover the hard way that The Shape has come to Russellville!
Nightdance falls into the “current” continuity (Halloween, Halloween 2, Halloween H20, and on) of the unstoppable serial killer’s exploits across middle America, and while Devil’s Due Publishing is bringing the comic to your local funny book store, Trances International Films and movie series producer Malek Akkad has an intimate role in developing the storyline. If Nightdance is to be considered a “comic book adaptation” of a movie that doesn’t exist, issue one would therefore be the first twenty or so minutes of the film. Issue one introduces four main characters, each with their own voiceover to get some minor exposition out of the way and get the “film” up to speed.
This multi-character beginning is a little disorienting at first, and takes some time getting the color-coordinated thought boxes associated with the proper character thinking them, while it took a visit to the F.A.Q section of halloweencomics.com to truly understand where in the Michael Myers mythos this story takes place. These little nuances take away from what is otherwise a very intriguing opening act, where plenty of questions are set up, no answers are given, and The Shape makes quick work of his first victim in such a brutal fashion that it can only foretell much worse to come.
If Akkad’s involvement is not enough to make you want to give this book a chance, then perhaps the writer, Stefan Hutchinson, will seal the deal. Hutchinson was the director and driving force behind the Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror documentary, and whose wide knowledge of all things Halloween should make him a shoe-in as the perfect writer to bring to life a story by a fan and for the fans. He knows what has worked in the franchise and what has not, and this first issue promises a true-to-form usage of the man who has only pure evil behind his eyes. During Myers’ brief appearance here, Hutchinson draws out the tension and first kill for all it is worth and waits until the perfect moment to give him a grand and worthy entrance.
Devil’s Due staff artist Tim Seeley fleshes out Hutchinson’s script with a foreboding use of color and shadow. Unlike many of the comic book adaptations of the modern slasher icons that use a highly detailed inks and digital coloring, Seeley uses a more natural-feeling color base, almost appearing to be done with pastels at times to match the use of the crayon-drawn pictures given to Lisa. Seeley shows off his ability give each page a crisp autumn feel as auburn leaves flutter through the air and twisted jack-o-lanterns populate nearly every porch. Seeley’s presentation of Michael Myers is quite commendable, as he draws on the original film’s body type and gives John Carpenter’s use of shadow a fitting tribute. Seeley is also the creator and sometimes artist of Hack/Slash, so you have no need to fear about the gruesome murders that are bound to make their way into the story.
The comic book medium, unfortunately, does lends its limitations to the story. The Shape’s ability to fluidly shift in and around the frame is hampered, while his absolute silence cannot be fully appreciated in a medium with no sound. This also brings us the comic’s most fatal flaw — the inability to play the perfectly haunting soundtrack and sound stabs at just the right time. You can tell where they should be, but it just isn’t the same (if you have the soundtrack, keep it close by when you read this).
With a whole new batch of characters being introduced here, and no sign of Dr. Loomis, it will be quite interesting to see how Halloween: Nightdance plays out, and how it might affect the continuity of the franchise. There are hints scattered through this issue that Lisa has some distant connection to Myers, but of course what that is remains mystery. What is left little to doubt is that Lisa will become our “final girl” and that in order to finally make the nightmares that haunt her stop, she will have to come face to face with The Shape.