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The Initiative: Bad Dreams

Take a historical look at Nightmare as the lord of the Dream Dimension prepares to invade AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #29 preview art by Rafa Sandoval
By Tim Stevens

Taken from The DB

It's the first day of freshman year and you find yourself in front of your Geometry class without pants. To make matters worse, you're being asked to present on the Pythagorean Theorem in Farsi, a language you do not speak.

As you stumble through, the room begins to darken. Your classmates begin to scream as one by one, they're consumed by a gaping maw in the floor. A window shatters and the resulting suction rips your teacher and his desk from the room. As the wind whips, you crawl towards the door, hoping for escape. You rip it open, only to find an endless void waiting on the other side. In the back of the room, the wall falls away and the sound of hooves can be heard in the distance. You squint into the darkness and see a figure riding a black unicorn drawing closer. The man has dead white skin, wrapped in a bizarre green outfit and shredded cape and topped with a shock of green hair. You feel paralyzed as he rasps your name, drawing closer at impossibly fast

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #29 preview art by Rafa Sandoval
speeds. When he reaches for you, you can only squeeze your eyes closed and open your mouth in a silent scream. You feel his nails on your skin and then-

You sit up straight in bed, heart racing, covered in sweat, and utterly relieved to be alive. You have just survived an encounter with the supernatural being known as Nightmare.

While there does exist evidence to suggest that this creature has been with us since the beginning of recorded time, supernatural experts report that strong documented accounts only began to appear around 1963. While specific details vary, he's invariably depicted as a gaunt albino-like figure dressed in green, riding or in close contact with a horned ebony horse. Theories have pegged him as everything from a faerie creature driven mad to a demon to a ruler of a dimension that we can access only through our dreams.

The most prominent of myths regarding Nightmare tend to be linked to the antics of so-called super heroes, especially Doctor Stephen Strange. Nightmare has also been blamed by some for driving several prominent American heroes insane, including, briefly, the original Captain America, Steve Rogers. This event nearly resulted in a nuclear war; the government

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #29 preview art by Rafa Sandoval
has repeatedly denied these claims as did Rogers himself before his recent death, but several sources off the record insist that it did occur.

Sightings of Nightmare have recently been on the rise, especially in the Stamford area of Connecticut and in New Mexico.

Noted Nightmare scholar Christos Gage encourages people not to take Nightmare appearances lightly. He also encourages people not to panic though, as there remain limits to the being's abilities.

"As terrifying as Nightmare is, we are fortunate in that he can only influence us through dreams," explains Gage.

However, later, he forebodingly adds, "If [Nightmare] had the ability to affect the physical world, I shudder to think what horrors he'd confront us with."

Check out Nightmare's next move in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #29, available October 28 from Gage and artist Rafa Sandoval.

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