• Reviews 

    Review: Army of Darkness #1

    By | February 17th, 2012
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written by Elliott R. Serrano
    Illustrated by Marat Mychaels

    Listen up screwheads! A new chapter in the Army of Darkness saga begins here! As the evil of the Necronomicon spreads across the cosmos, a new ally in the war against the Deadites emerges. Who is the woman named “Ash” and what relation does she have to “The Chosen One” Ashley J. Williams? And who is the alien Deadite creature who follows her across time and space? The answers lie deep within the pyramids of ancient Egypt…in a parallel universe! The adventures of everyone’s favorite chainsaw swinging, boom-stick wielding hero continue here!

    As a young man, seeing Army of Darkness (before I knew it was the third part of a series) was a huge moment for my geekdom. A horror movie, with Three Stooges humor, endlessly repeatable catchphrases and some sweet special effects? I was sold, and began to dig deeper, eventually seeing Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, and become a serious Sam Raimi fan. Despite loving it, I never reached out to the various enterprises that sprung up in its wake, specifically the comic series starring our man Ash in various new adventures.

    In fact, I had never read a single Army of Darkness/Evil Dead comic until picking up Army of Darkness #1, the third series of this name, this week. And what I got was quite different than what I expected. Click the jump for more, but be warned that minor spoilers are discussed.

    The story begins with two people jockeying for control of the voice-over narration, with Ash describing the conditions of slave hood, bickering with an unseen companion. Visually, the art starts at the ground and pans up a bit with each panel, eventually revealing that -(and here is that spoiler, for folks who haven’t picked up the book yet) – this isn’t Ashley J. Williams, our protagonist. This is Ashley K. Williams, who, too, is fighting the Deadites, who also has an unusual right hand, who used to work at Smart Stop (sound familiar?), and who is traveling across time and space.

    In fact, we only see hints of our familiar Ash at the end of this issue – the majority of this issue focuses on Ashley K. and her alien companion (with an unpronounceable name) with a cameo from Cleopatra to boot. Oh, I didn’t mention that this is an ancient Egypt-based story? It is, and while that may be the most overused setting in literary fantasy, it works well here.

    My personally favorite part of the issue is this question I’m left with: are all Ashley Williamses destined for this path? What happened to Ashely A.-Ashley I.? I hope this is a direction the book keeps exploring, with telling us stories of past (and maybe future) Ashes. This concept gives this new ongoing a hook that prior volumes didn’t have, and could really open up this universe.

    Another plot point beginning to be explored is our aforementioned alien friend. As a neophyte Army of Darkness comics reader, I presume this is a brand new character, and it is a curious one. I don’t really understand why an alien has been brought in (it feels a little American Dad, to be honest), but it provides some nice comic relief, and hopefully grows into something a little more substantial than just a gag-machine.

    The art, by Marat Mychels (of Brigade fame), is solid, while covering lots of ground – modern day USA, ancient Egypt, alien planets, etc. We’re only given a little hint of his Ash (J), but his chin is properly prominent, so I have no doubts about his ability to handle him next issue. It is interesting that Mychels is so known for his Image work (which was quite over the top), because he is quite subdued here, and lets the story speak for itself.

    As for that story, like I said earlier, this book does a nice job of both hinting at the broader picture while telling this specific story of Ashley stuck in Egypt. Both parts are entertaining, and both encourage the use of single-issue stories combining to tell a broader stories. There is plenty of humor, mostly found from our alien friend, and it appears that writer Elliott Serrano gets the tone of the series from the get-go (it doesn’t hurt that he has written other Ash-centric stories before).

    Continued below

    Overall, this is a solid first issue that plants seeds for a fun new ongoing. My only gripe is that I was hoping for a little more Ash (J), but I’m sure this series will have plenty of that going forward.

    Final Verdict: 8.3 – Buy

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).