Any horror kid who grew up in the 80s and/or 90s always had dreams of their favorite movie maniacs facing off against one another. While on film the only time this dream was made a reality was with the 2003 release of Freddy Vs. Jason, pitting the icons from the A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th series, respectively, against one another. While the film could absolutely not live up to the expectations that fans had since word had first started spreading about the crossover in the mid-80s (Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood was originally intended to be Freddy and Jason’s initial meeting, but rights issues at the time prevented it and we ended up what everyone famously refers to as “Jason vs. Carrie”), it did succeed in finally giving us gorehounds the battle we had been waiting for. Following the release of the film and the reinvigoration of both series, a comic series was put together with Ash from the Evil Dead series entitled, rather appropriately I may add, Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash. It was very much a love letter to the fans, and many could easily consider it superior to the film of which it was spun off from.
But this was not the first time that Jason had the opportunity to show off his machete wielding skills to a fellow iconic slasher. Way back in 1995, New Line Cinema actually owned the rights to not only Freddy Krueger (if you are unaware that New Line has long been referred to as “The House That Freddy Built” you may be in the wrong corner of the internet right now) and Jason Voorhees, but also the rights to Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. 1995 was also a very strange time for the horror genre, as it was in the post-slasher era but the genre had yet to get the shot in the arm that would be provided by Scream the following year. Lackluster returns on the last entries of the three big slasher series had all come back rather poorly, whether it be 1993’s Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday or 1990’s Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (technically 1994 was to see the release of the completely repulsive and abysmal Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, but it would not see release until a few years later when it attempted to capitalize on the newfound stardom of stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey) so both series were in a state of limbo. During this time the idea of doing a crossover comic apparently popped up, and fans worldwide would be given a horror fans dream come true of Crystal Lake’s native son mixing it up with everyone’s favorite flesh-wearing, chainsaw wielding cannibal from Texas.
The plot is kept incredibly simple and dumbed down: Pollution throughout Crystal Lake has forced Jason to hop on a train which just so happens to be on its way to Texas. After taking care of the fellow train inhabitants and causing it to crash, Jason heads into the woods. He comes across a terrified man who has just managed to escape from the clutches of Leatherface and his brother, Hitchhiker (seriously, even his own family calls him by that name in a perfect example of the laziness of the writing). Jason dispatches the would-be victim, so seeing similarities between Jason and their family, the boys decide to bring Jason home. He is welcomed by the head of the household, Cook (again, really? We couldn’t come up with actual names for the characters?) and its decided he will stay with his new “family”. The books focus heavily on the weird feelings Jason encounters about not immediately killing the people he comes across, and soon Jason and Leatherface build a morbid friendship. Of course, the title of the book kinda gives away what is bound to happen, and we are eventually served to a rather anti-climactic battle before Jason ends up deciding to venture back home to Crystal Lake after being left for dead by Leatherface and his clan.
Some of the things about the book are pretty solid, including the fun art style. The members of the Leatherface clan all have an intriguing yet fun look to them, that really helps get across how demented they are, the Hitchhiker especially. The level of gore is pretty solid, with both Jason and Leatherface getting to have a decent go with their signature weapons.
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the book is pretty bad. The fact that they actually have some of the characters go by their movie nicknames as if that is their real name is atrocious. The book also completely messes with the mythology of both series. A completely unforgivable one is a flashback involving Jason’s mother, apparently going by the name Doris. If the book had been released prior to the 1984 release of Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter where they established that Mrs. Voorhees’ first name was Pamela. But this book came 11 years after that point, so not even knowing the proper name of such a vital character is completely ridiculous.
In the end, Jason Vs. Leatherface is an odd entry for both series, and it would be damned hard to convince anyone other than hardcore fans of the series to check it out. The book is long out of print, but if you were to really want to get your hands on it, there are certainly ways to go about that. But again, if you aren’t either a hardcore Jason or Leatherface fan, it’s likely best to just ignore this weird 3 issue comic.