The infamous Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street may be one of the most iconic dream demons in horror, but a new comic series called Slumber has an antagonist that’s giving him a terrifying reversal. The idea of dying in sleep is a fear that’s been held by people for centuries. When Wes Craven debuted Freddy Krueger to the world in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, it only amplified this fear as the dream stalker made what’s supposed to be the safest place into something that people want to escape…but can’t. Now, a comic series by Image Comics is throwing its hat in the ring of dream horror to craft a new nighttime villain, and so far they are absolutely terrifying.
Comics Slumber is a comic series created by Child’s Play writer Tyler Burton Smith and Vanessa Cardinali. The story follows Stetson, a detective with an interesting line of work. Clients come to her to solve their nightmares, and then she goes in with her partner, Jiang, to take on the creature head-on in their dreams. This leads the way to battles between Stetson and the nightmares. What lies in the shadows of the nightmare world though is a demon that’s in the background of the overarching story, and their plans involve more than just frightening people. The primary nightmarish antagonist for Slumber is called Valkira. As of right now, the series has depicted this character as a shadowy demon with visible long hair and bright red eyes. The rest of the design is hidden, giving no other discernable features. What’s interesting about them though is their influence on people in the dream world. Unlike other nightmares, Valkira has the ability to control people while they sleep, using them as a host for their nefarious deeds. While in control, they use the time to murder Stetson’s clients, trying to grab her attention. The fact that Valkira can easily gain control of anyone and put them in the backseat while they use them to murder is horrifying. There’s nothing that the host can do but wake up in terror, surrounded by a body and covered in their blood.
Freddy Krueger did dabble in real-world possession a couple of times (once as the main plot in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and once as a brief moment to put Jason to sleep in Freddy vs. Jason), his hunting ground mostly lies in the dream world. He’s more comfortable there than in reality because he can bend the world around him to torment his victims before killing them. Valkira, on the other hand, specializes in real-world murders. In this comic’s world, death in the dream doesn’t mean a person will die unless people like Stetson walk inside. Instead, they use their host’s dream state as a way to hunt, and doing so puts everyone around them in danger. At some point, the host needs to sleep. When they do, Valkira can strike anywhere and kill as many people as they want. If the host dies, they can transfer themselves to a new one, never ceasing their crimes. While Freddy Krueger has been shown to have a limited time to kill people since he attacks in teenagers’ dreams, Valkira can potentially never stop. By jumping body to body, they’re a force that can last for generations. As of Slumber’s 2nd Issue, Stetson has just entered the foray of her battle with Valkira, trying to hunt them down before they can strike again. What will come next is a mystery. No matter what though, their terrifying reversal of the iconic Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street makes them a huge threat, and Slumber’s Stetson is in for a rough battle to take them down.
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