Good. Bad. He’s the guy with the gun. Army of Darkness picks up on the adventures of Ash Williams after the events of the cult classic movie by the same name. Ever since stumbling across the Necronomicon in a log cabin the woods, Ash has been trying to keep an undead army of evil, known as the Deadites, at bay. After losing his hand and getting sucked back and forth through time, Ash thought he was free to return to his life … but that would be short lived. Soon after the events of the movie, Ash discovered that he is a Chosen One and destined to protect the world from the Deadites and their attempts to take over the world and destroy all living things.
Written by Mike Raicht
Art by Scott Cohn
Colors by Rael Sidharta
Letters by Bill Tortolini
Cover by Scott Cohn
Published by Dynamite
Five years have passed since the last issue and our newly disembodied hero is filling us in on the recent events of the apocalypse while Gus, resident genius, frantically works on a time machine to prevent this future from ever happening. Ash, while perfecting his monologue skills, tells us he died when the Hell’s Prophet hijacked his body and kicked him out. Since Hell’s Prophet got his new Ash skin suit, he’s brought about the end of humanity and let loose every kind of Deadite to help him claim the planet. Brad the werewolf, Gelar the Rainbow Serpent, a witch named Cybil, and Gus are the only remaining members of the human race and make up the League of Light. Having a witch on the team is helpful since she’s the only person who can communicate with ghost Ash. As Gus works, Brad and Gelar fight off the Prophet’s Army of Darkness on their newly discovered front door step. With Hell’s Prophet risen and in power, the Necronomicon Ash used to travel time previously is useless so the hope of humanity’s survival rests with Gus’ machine. Gus yells for the newly married Brad and Cybil to get into the time machine with Ash’s ghost while Gelar holds off the hoards of Deadites clawing their way in. Ash discovers that Gus has rigged the time machine to explode after it’s transported them to the past and which angers Cybil. Gus explains that he and Gelar want to stay behind and that the resulting explosion may be enough to destroy the Hell’s Prophet and his army. Cybil, Brad and Ash say their goodbyes just as the Prophet breaks in. Gus turns the key to send them back in time just as he is engulfed in black fire from a deadite and passes away. Hell’s Prophet rejoices in his victory as the white light of the explosion engulfs him.
Ash, Cybil and Brad arrive in the past in the parking garage that was (or will be) their hideout. The garage attendant is startled by their sudden appearance which Brad makes use of to take a car and map from him. The team makes their way to Mountain Springs where Ash was first infected with the Hell’s Prophet and expect to find a town crawling with Deadites. They realize that they have traveled a little too far back in time when they see that the town isn’t over run with Deadites and is just as a normal town should be. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Ash flies off to find the man that infected him to stop him before he turns evil. Cybil and Brad are left together on a park bench to wonder what their fate will be if they succeed in changing time. Will they never marry or possibly never meet? The sad couple is interrupted by Ash who discovers the man who infected him. Ash leads the couple to the man only to find that he’s a dentist and not evil yet. Ash wants Brad to kill him but he and Cybil feel that it would be wrong to kill an innocent man. While they argue back and forth, Ash gets an idea to check his old cabin with the hopes of finding the Necronomicon still inside. As they sneak up to the cabin, Brad transforms into a werewolf and is shot by a bearded past version of Ash who mistakes him for a Deadite. Just as bearded Ash is about to finish Brad off, Cybil tells him that Sheila (Ash’s former girlfriend) wants him to stop. Bearded Ash stands there stunned while ghost Ash possessed his past body. Ash, while happy to be back in the flesh, asks Cybil if she really was talking to Sheila as they soon realize that Brad had been seriously injured. Ash tells them that during this time in his life, he started mixing silver in with his buck shot just in case a werewolf showed up. Ash apologizes but realizes he only has so much time in his body before the possession wears off. Ash goes in the cabin and writes a note to himself on how to stop the apocalypse from happening while Brad lay dying outside in Cybil’s arms. To make up for inadvertently killing Brad he writes a second note to himself and tells him to deliver it to a Brad Fenrison in England. He wonders if his plan will work when he realizes that Cybil and Brad have disappeared from where they were sitting. A second later, bearded Ash snaps back to normal and wonders if his metal hand has gone evil and written him a note. Sometime has passed and now we see a werewolf Brad rescuing Cybil from a mental institution in Greece. He is holding Ash’s note and the two meet each other for the first time. Meanwhile back at the cabin, Ash sits alone trying to figure out how to get rid of the Necronomicon without bringing on the end of days.
I’d like to start off saying that I’m a huge fan of the movies but I’ve never read the comic. For someone who picks up this comic for the first time, you don’t need to watch the movies to get you started. Naturally, there are going to be a few details that you don’t quite understand but for the most part the story does a good job of helping you keep up. I would really suggest this issue as a jump on point because of how well the opening monologue explains the recent events of the comic. Another reason is how the ending leaves the movie fans in an easy to pick up place and recons some of the previous tale so you’re not missing much important information. The beginning of the story reminds me of the “Days of Future Past” episode from the Xmen cartoon with how the time machine is ready just as the enemy breaks down the front door and you’re sent back in time to prevent the apocalypse. Or maybe Back to the Future with zombies. Aside from the monologue to the reader, most of the beginning has Ash’s character take a back seat and lets the supporting characters have their (final) moments in the spot light. At first it struck me as odd because he’s the main character but then realized how difficult it must be to give lines to a character that can’t touch anything and can only talk to one other person. Without knowing their back stories, I still felt that I knew the League of Light’s members well enough to appreciate their death scenes.
For the most part, the art gets the job done. Werewolf Brad is a particularly well drawn character. Something that bug me, though, is how much Ash’s design reminds me of an old characture of Bob Hope. I’m sure many of you won’t have that same problem though. Ultimately, after reading this issue, I find myself wanting to rewatch the movies and pick up a few back issues of the title. One of my only regrets is that the dialogue didn’t seem to capture the machismo that Ash was known for in the films. He seems to have gotten a little softer with his come backs. Over all, it’s a very good story and very enjoyable to read. I found myself nodding my head and smiling by the last page. I give this issue a 3 1/2 out of 5.