If you’re a fan of Ash and the movie series then you shouldn’t have a problem picking up and enjoying this trade. That said, if you’re not familiar with the series but enjoy the genre you might be a little lost but still be entertained.
The series picks up right after the movie with a nice provided recap and poor Ash is once again drawn into a chaotic battle with the Deadites. Having blown the Incantation he’s brought back to the 1300’s –with boomstick in hand- to a new army of darkness ruling the lands.
Steve Niles captures everything Ash from attitude to one-liners so it’s no surprise he captures Ash’s troubles as well. Ash is captured and tortured. We get a nice nod to the original movie Evil Dead with the appearance of Ash’s old girlfriend here as a guilty torture device as the damned soul. But Ash isn’t without friends in this world and is soon saved by Sheila, because apparently he’s their saviour. No pressure Ash. So armed with his favorite toys, gun and chainsaw, the pair escape and plan to retrieve the book of the dead.
Fighting through a Deadite infested Dark Wood, and an evil Ash, or more like a giant evil Ash, they make their way to Arthur’s castle to stop Wiseman and his army. Everyone converges here and plenty of fighting ensues over the book with Ash facing and defeating his giant evil self thus retrieving the book but losing Shelia to the evil spirit. It’s never easy for Ash.
The second half of the trade has Ash embracing his role as medieval saviour. Through flashbacks we learn Ash is fated to deal the army of the dead and soon his chainsaw is replaced by sword. He heads out to find possessed Shelia and runs into a group of handless worshipers and learns of a woman named Sulevia whose knows…all. He heads out looking for Sulevia’s help and is tested by her guardian giant. He passes by not killing a the crying brute and she agrees to help him.
With a little organic help Ash learns he has been connected to the evil since childhood and he has chance to kill evil in Shelia once and for all and freeing everyone under its thumb. The trade ends in a donnybrook between Ash and evil Shelia and her enforcer evil Deadite Ash. Niles brings back fan favorite, Ash’s dismembered hand, for the fight and Ash is able to defeat it and the evil saving his new love Shelia. Ash gets to proclaim his love and proposes to Shelia and the two appear to ride off happily into the sunset. Until Ash mistakenly summons a new evil setting up new adventures for Ash and Shelia.
Steve Niles does a good job with the series. The pendulum doesn’t swing too heavy into horror or comedy therefore keeping it nicely balanced. Some of the pacing in places seemed hurried but isn’t too distracting but Niles is working with a predominately built in audience so allowances for hic-ups can be made.
The artwork was simple for the series, both Calero and Tenorio capture Ash and the environment well. Calero is the stronger illustrator but his choice of panels and shots can confuse at times. Tenorio is more animated and loose but tells a good story.
If you’re a fan of the movies you won’t be disappointed, and I’d give it a strong 3.5 of 5. If you like the horror-comedy genre and want to try it I’d give it a soft 3 of 5 because it is well written.