Advanced Review: Ash and the Army of Darkness #1
Just in time for Halloween, Dynamite is bringing a direct sequel of the Evil Dead film series’ third installment, Army of Darkness (1992), to comics, honoring the popular quirky hero of the Sam Raimi movies, Ash Williams.
Ash and the Army of Darkness, written by horror icon Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre), begins right after the plot of the movie and finds Ash in hot water. Niles cleverly picks up the final frame of AoD in the present, continues for awhile but soon Ash and his humor are back in the Dark Ages.
To my mind, that is what put the third Evil Dead film ahead of the rest: the quintessential modern man thrown into the past. For those who know the story, Oldman Wiseman is there from the beginning and has a horrific if comical manner in which to welcome Ash back.
Much of the first issue of Ash and the Army of Darkness has terrifying murder scene after terrifying murder scene. It could get monotonous, but the gem of this series is Ash’s rather comical reaction to these violent acts. Niles uses Ash and his narrative to carry the story, and it works.
Will it work for 12 issues? We’ll have to wait until later to judge.
If there is one flaw in the comic, it is Niles’ heavy reliance on his readers knowing at least some if not most of the Evil Dead saga. Whether this will be an albatross in later issues or if there will be flashbacks/exposition, again we will have to see.
As it is, the first issue of this direct-from-movie sequel offers good story, great characterization (especially, as I said, if you know the films) and beautiful art by Dennis Calero, which carries Niles’ script perfectly.
If you want some scares this Halloween, you will definitely want to check out Ash and the Army of Darkness, which hits stands October 30.