Another one bites the dust
Back in his world, Ash has been doing everything he can to keep the Necronomicon safe from the hands of the Deadites.Â Unfortunately, the evil contained within has seeped into the water table, turning the nearby town into the walking undead, bent on taking over the world.Â And the leader of this group is hell bent (literally) on turning Ash to their side.
This is the concluding chapter of the Hillbillies and Deadnecks arc, and features Ash, Justin and Curly attempting to steal the unholy book back from the Deadites (the Deadnecks), in exchange for the Curlyâ€™s kinfolk (the Hillbillies) releasing Justinâ€™s girlfriend and trying to excise the demons from within the rest of the hillbilly family.Â It seems more complicated than it is, and it turns out to be a mix of rescue mission and horror that pays off well.
Since this is another in our advanced reviews of issues coming out in the next week, weâ€™re keeping the spoilers to a minimum, but for those that have read or seen Army of Darkness in the past (or at least know a thing or two about the horror genre) will be able to read between the lines to figure out what is going on.
There are enough jump-in-your-seat moments in the issue that were this an actual movie, you can almost hear the teenage girls in the audience screaming in fright as the macho boyfriend wraps his arms tightly around his fling of the moment, keeping her safe until the end of the movie.Â Of course readers arenâ€™t going to jump in their seats, but the pacing and layout of the major jump points are well executed by Mike Raicht.
The best part of the issue, and the one that will have greater implications in the next arc, is the moment when the leader of the Deadites, attempts to turn Ash into one of them.Â I wonâ€™t give away the gory details, but if youâ€™ve read Rage of the Red Lanterns, youâ€™ll have a good idea of how Ash gets some of the bad juju in him.Â Fortunately he doesnâ€™t get all of it in, and he ends up turning into something not quite human, and not quite Deadite, so Iâ€™m curious as to how this will play out in the futre.
The Hillbillies and Deadnecks arc isnâ€™t anything groundbreaking in terms of past Army of Darkness arcs, but as the final chapter wrapped, I was able to appreciate it more from the horror movie genre standpoint as all the tropes play out in some form or other in issue.Â When the reader gets it in their head that this is nothing more than a fun horror series (as the original movies were meant to be) the issue becomes enjoyable.
The art is solid, but what stands out most for me in this series is how Scott Cohn is drawing Ash to not look like Bruce Campbell.Â From what Iâ€™ve gathered, Mr. Campbell is not too keen on his likeness appearing in comic books, and it looks like Dynamite Entertainment is responding by subtly altering Ashes features to look like someone else altogether. That being said, with the beard, and hat, and the creepy event that transpires in this issue, itâ€™s pretty easy to adjust to see how Ash might not look like Bruce for much longer.
One of the ways to wipe out the Deadite infestation is to kill them all — but what happens if you love your undead family so much, youâ€™re willing to let them â€œliveâ€?Â That open ended reveal, and Ashâ€™s continued blight to find peace, will propel the series forward.Â For now, Army of Darkenss #17 is entertaining enough to earn 3 out of 5 Stars.