REVIEW: Army Of Darkness Vs. Hack/Slash #1 (of 6)

by

Or – “These Days, This Isn’t My Usual Ashley Williams…”

Mashups and crossovers are the order of the day in comics anymore, but seldom does an inter-property crossover make more sense than in this case.  Will two sardonic monster hunters with a flair for the old ultra-violence get along?  And, more importantly, how long before Ash hits on Cassie Hack?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
Natural crossover fodder.
Some fun and funky dialogue…
Cons

Extensive gore may not be for everybody.
I need more recap about Cassie.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


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HSAOD1CoverARMY OF DARKNESS VS. HACK/SLASH #1
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Daniel Leister
Colorist: Carlos Badilla
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Army Of Darkness Vs. Hack/Slash:  Cassandra Hack’s own mother was a “slasher,” a serial killer who murdered all the kids who were mean to Cassie in her high school, and then committed suicide in front of her daughter.  A few years later, her mom returned as an undead monster and Cassie defeated and destroyed her (with the help of her friend Vlad), setting her on the path of the monster-hunter.

Ash Williams likewise was shaped by tragedy and arcane forces, as a camping trip gone wrong led to him murdering friends and his sister to keep evil forces at bay.  Repeated clashes with the Deadites left Ash hardened and shy a hand, but he continues to battle the evil dead as necessary.  He also gets around, having crossed paths with the vigilante Darkman, Danger Girl Abby Chase, serial killer Jason Voorhees and psionic dream-vampire Freddy Krueger, always surviving by his wits and extensive knowledge of housewares…

THIS…  IS MY BOOMSTICK!

It’s been a good while since I sat down with the adventures of Cassandra Hack, so I was kind of surprised to find the issue opening with her on a date with her steady girl, Margaret.  There’s a reference to the demise of her partner, Vlad, and Cassie is emotional enough that they call off their evening out and head for home.  Before they make it, though, Cassie notices a strange vehicle in their neighborhood, a ’73 Olds that has clearly seen some mileage, and things start to get weird.  The dialogue is pretty awesome throughout the issue, with Cassie being handled by her creator and all, but it’s fun to imagine Bruce Campbell reading Ash’s dialogue.  “Why don’t you and me grab some gab so I can get this gun outta your face?”  Interestingly, Cassie and Margaret have a child together, and Ash has traced a stolen page of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis to the house, leading to some very nicely handled exposition as Cassie and Ash take a moment to explain that each knows who the other is, giving us an in-character view of how the other monster-killer is viewed.  It’s a nice bit of work by Seeley, and is one of the most conversational bits of “Who They Are And How They Came To Be” in recent memory…

IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING.

Things get pretty real as the duo discovers that Cassie’s babysitter has been possessed, with a gruesome bit of business of her eating her own hands (on-panel), leading to the old fighty-fighty.  The art is stylized, and angular as hell, but not unattractive, so long as you expect the blood and guts and the hacking and the glayvin.  As anybody who knows them would tell you, Cassie and Ash mesh pretty well in action, and they manage to destroy the babysitter with a gun and an electric knife and OH BOY is there a lot of blood.  Lots and lots of blood, bloody bloody blood…  The last part of the issue consists of preparation to go and find whomever has the Necronomicon and selling the pages, a setup for the remainder of the series.  There’s a nice sense of finality to Cassie accepting that this part of her life is over, and Ash even gets a quiet moment of decency before they burn down the house and set off in his Delta 88 after the bad guys.  I kind of hope that this leads to a nice buddy comedy, albeit one of the black sort.

THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD?  BAD?  IT’S THE COMIC WITH THE GUN…

All in all, it’s a clever, well-written story that fits well within both characters’ canonicities, and makes for a good read.  The over-the-top nature of Ash’s movie adventures makes his easy acceptance of Cassie’s arcane trappings, while she proves to be more than a match for his fast-talking mojo.  All in all, Army Of Darkness Vs. Hack/Slash #1 hits the spot, delivering a fast, fun, readable story that lets both main characters strut their stuff, earning 4 out 5 stars overall.  Bruce Campbell should be proud, wherever he’s got to…

Rating: ★★★★☆