The Brewer Report: First blood: The Chaos King cometh!
Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 18:06
THE BREWER REPORT
The Chaos King cometh!
By Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
(Editor's Note: "Chaos War #1" Spoilers Below)
It was with a bit of byrony a few months ago that I watched in hope as a great comic launched and then was shot down in corporate flames before my very eyes, before its fifth issue. The character was Doctor Voodoo, new Sorcerer Supreme of our realm. The major villain? For this mystic as for his mentor, Stephen Strange, it was the being called Nightmare!
Now Nightmare, drueling over his future plans, has fallen victim in the latest cosmic crossfire, the Chaos War. The Chaos King has no desire for mortals, it seems, dreaming or otherwise. No, this big-bad’s desire is a return to a time past before everything was everything, to “darkness, entropy … the naught before creation.”
Sadly, his intro salvo was against Nightmare!
This most unique of Stan Lee/Steve Ditko creations is a demon from the dimension Everinnye, like his “cousin” the Dweller in Darkness. He roams this realm on his black unicorn, Dreamstalker. He appears as a chalk-white man with wild green hair, a green bodysuit and a ragged cape. Nightmare is dependent on the human race's need to dream. Without this ability, Nightmare would cease to exist, but humanity would go insane. At one point, Strange and Nightmare had to join forces to prevent that from happening. Nightmare has served under Shuma-Gorath and warned Strange that the demon would be a force that even the Sorcerer Supreme would have trouble defeating, and he once joined the Fear Lords, a group of supernatural creatures who fed on fear, to attack Strange together. Their plans were undone when D’spayre tricks him into competing with the Dweller in Darkness over who could frighten humanity more.
Nightmare is the father of the Dreamqueen, a similar being who rules her own “dream dimension.” She was conceived when Nightmare raped a succubus named Zhilla Char.
In the Tempest Fugit storyline of The Incredible Hulk, it is revealed that Nightmare has been plaguing the Hulk for years with hallucinations, misdirections and manipulations of reality, by empowering himself from the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His second, more benevolent daughter, Daydream, is also introduced in this story arc. Nightmare here claimed that this daughter was conceived by forcibly entering the mind of the Hulk's former wife, Betty Ross Banner (now She-Rulk), and is temporarily killed by the Hulk in retaliation.
Nightmare appeared in the Secret Invasion arc of The Incredible Hercules. Herc and the God Squad, making their way to the Skrull gods' realm, require a map of the Dreamtime, and barter with Nightmare for it. Nightmare agrees, in exchange for access to the fears of the five gods; however, he actually intends to use these divine fears to conquer the world. Hercules and the others escape his realm, having stolen the map via trickery. He later attempts to revenge himself on Hercules by manipulating the supervillain Arcade into trapping Hercules and Deadpool in a labyrinth they constructed. The ploy fails, and Nightmare withdraws. He later plots to conquer the entirety of fiction, adding it to his realm of nightmares, but was defeated by the Fantastic Four.
In Avengers: The Initiative Special, it was revealed that Nightmare is Trauma’s father, which explains Trauma's fear powers. He later manifests on Earth and proves to be a problem for the Avengers Resistance and the Initiative.
The very first story arc of Doctor Voodoo, of course, was indeed its last. In this fine five-issue work, Jericho Drummand Victor Von Doom discover Nightmare behind an invasion of the 616 reality and team up to destroy many of Nightmare's undead creations (byronically many of them being cancelled characters in Marvel's pantheon, i.e., Blade, Ghost Rider, etc.).
He seems gone for now, but you can’t keep a good villain down. The next time (if ever, wink!) Nightmare raises his head from under our cold, sweat-stained covers, I hope he is portrayed half as well as he was in the late, already-missed Doctor Voodoo.