The Lord Of Nightmares is back, protecting your fragile psyche from the things that go “bump” in the night!  Your Major Spoilers review of Alice Cooper #1 awaits!

AliceCooper1ALICE COOPER #1
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Eman Casallos
Colorist: Aikau Oliva
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Alice CooperFrom the Wiki –  “Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) is an American rock singer, songwriter, and musician whose career spans six decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors, baby dolls, crutch and dueling sword , considered by fans and peers alike to be ‘The Godfather of Shock Rock’.”  But in a far-away dimension, where dreams have substance and nightmares rule, the name Alice Cooper holds a different meaning…


The opening pages of this issue are pretty stunning, visually, showing us a strange citadel in an otherworldly plane known as “The Nightmare Place”, where the Lord of Nightmares lies catatonic, as his python familiar once again wonders where The Master has gone.  Cut to a tour bus in the desert, as a vulgar caricature of a music producer entertains himself with the company of several pneumatic trollops, while his star attraction broods in the background.  This, it seems, is the current location of the essence of The Lord Of Nightmares, in a mortal shell know to rock & roll fans as Alice Cooper.  There are several threads of plot in this first issue, with a bullied boy finding a vinyl copy of an Alice Cooper album at a yard sale, while a Alice interacts with another young musician who loses his soul to Lucius, the promoter with the ironclad contract.  Alice is moved by the young singer’s words, reminded of who he really is by the sight of one of his old posters (a confusing concept, which we’ll get to in a minute) and finally breaking free of his servitude to save the young man’s soul.  As the issue ends. Robbie the bullied teen manages to get his A.C. record to play backwards, summoning The Lord of Nightmares for the first time in decades…


On the one hand, it’s kind of a cheeky concept to imply that playing the records backwards actually calls down mystical forces, if you know the history of Alice Cooper and the back-masking controversy, but there’s some confusion in this issue as to which is the “real” Alice.  He is moved by his own poster, which implies that his performing persona is the real one, but when he comes fully back to reality, it’s as the lost Lord of Nightmares, of whom his public singing persona is but a pale shadow…  I think?

Still, there’s a lot of fun stuff here, and it’s a well-drawn issue overall, with Alice ending up back on his old stomping grounds and a mysterious fanged presence hanging in the margins. I like the interior art a lot as well, with its overtones of The Crow and even some of the more gratuitious elements delivered as part of the story rather than entirely for the titillation factor.  I will admit that there’s no way to review this comic book without admitting that it exists in the long shadow of The Sandman, whose first issue had a very similar plot (lost dream-lord returns home after being captured by mortal for power) and the David Mack watercolor cover is reminiscent in many ways of the work of Dave McKean on covers for Sandman during most of its run at Vertigo.  The thing that offsets it for me is Alice’s long career in makeup as The Lord Of Nightmares, playing on his existing stage character, and using the tropes and bits of comics to its advantage.


Honestly, I am pretty much this book’s target market: The comic geek old enough to remember the rock of previous decades and appreciate a meta comic book take on ’em.  Even though the book wears its influences on its sleeve, Alice Cooper #1 pulls off a pretty amazing trick, engaging me as a reader, and making me want to come back next issue, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  With a premise this open, our story could literally go anywhere…



Obviously inspired by another Lord of Dreams, but it's interesting metaphysical claptrap nonetheless.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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