Writer: Andy Hartnell
Artists: Nick Bradshaw (p), Etienne St-Laurent (c)
Publisher: Devil’s Due
Future Ash and the Old Man fight their way through Ash’s possessed girlfriend to find the Necronomicon. But present Ash thinks they’re more evil demons from the book. History is set right, but our heroes unknowingly pick up an old enemy.
The art is the best reason to buy this book. Not only does Bradshaw draw the characters in a hilariously goofy style, but he also creates richly a detailed world for them to inhabit. Combined with the colors of St-Laurent, reading the book has the same effect as watching a big-budget animated film. In fact, a straight-to-video cartoon based on this comic wouldn’t be a bad idea. My only complain in the art department is a scene where the Old Man strikes Evil Linda with an axe. It’s not clear she’s been hit until the next panel. We see her arch back and scream, but we don’t see the axe striking her.
The writing suffers a bit this issue. A couple of lines from the movie are repeated here. In fact, the comic re-writes events from “Evil Dead II”, the prequel to “Army of Darkness” that sent Ash back in time. “Evil Dead II” has the daughter of the archeologist that found the book open the time portal. She wasn’t mentioned in “Army of Darkness”, and she’s not mentioned here. It’s a pretty big mistake, until you consider how legal issues forced Sam Raimi to make “Evil Dead II” as though “Evil Dead” never happened. So either “Army of Darkness” ignored its predecessor, or Hartnell & Bradshaw are continuing the movie’s tradition.
There’s not much plot beyond Ash and the Old Man fighting everything that comes their way. But that’s why I’m reading this comic; to see Ash fight monsters in that same ultra-violent slapstick style as the movies. And that’s what we get in spades. Ash vs. Ash in a chainsaw fight; Ash vs. Evil Linda; both Ashes hacking up a hippie zombie; and Old Man vs. Ash’s right hand. When Hartnell wrote the plot, it must have said, “Ash kills stuff for 80 pages”.
‘Army of Darkness’ is a great-looking, funny book. It’s not particularly deep, but it does have some sharp dialogue, great action, and some of the best art I’ve ever seen. A monthly series is coming in January from the same creative team. I only hope it will be as much fun as this comic.
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