REVIEW: Ash and The Army of Darkness #1

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The Army of Darkness has been running at Dynamite for quite a long time so it’s time for a reboot. Along comes Ash and The Army of Darkness, a sequel to the wonderful cult horror film. Does the first issue give me some sugar or a boomstick blast to the head? Read on and find out.

SUMMARY

Pros
It is Army of Darkness
Cons

Nothing new or original
Art is poor and inconsistent

Overall Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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Ash AOD_1_coverASH AND THE ARMY OF DARKNESS #1
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Dennis Calero
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Ash and The Army of Darkness: I haven’t read Dynamite’s current Army of Darkness series for a long time but this is an all-new sequel.

DIRECT SEQUEL, BOOMSTICKS AND ALL

Dynamite has been milking the Army of Darkness property for a while and I haven’t looked at the book in long, long time. I laughed when I saw a new series starting, especially its title. Apparently, a distinction needs to be made as this is a new series picking up directly at the end of the movie.

I’ll start by saying I’m a huge Evil Dead fan. Army of Darkness was my least favorite of the three films but it had its charms and I still loved it. I enjoyed Dynamite’s Army of Darkness comics at first but found they descended into silliness and became redundant. Since Steve Niles was writing and it was a fresh start, I gave Ash and The Army of Darkness a shot. It certainly hits the right beats and is a clever way to continue the continuity of the film. The book starts right at the end of the movie as Ash tells his story to an uninterested S-Mart employee. Deadites show up, chaos ensues and Ash, his boomstick and two fellow workers find themselves back in medieval times. Arthur Wiseman, the man who Ash left the Necronomicon with, has read its passages and released the evil.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t tread much new ground. I didn’t enjoy the medieval setting much and was disappointed to see it return. It was cool to see old characters return and new ones introduced but the new are killed off so soon it was a waste. Ash is once again written as a wisecracking buffoon that matches the movie but is a characterization I’ve never enjoyed much and it’s amplified. He’s so invincible and unafraid not much is a danger. I’d love to see an Army of Darkness sequel be it in film or comic but this doesn’t work. There is nothing original or new to keep me reading further.

THERE’S THE MECHANICAL HAND! WAIT WHERE’D IT GO?

You may have heard Matthew on the awesome Major Spoilers Podcast say Dynamite books have the tendency to have great cover art with the interiors lacking. That couldn’t be truer here. Ben Templesmith gives a creepy cover but Dennis Calero leaves much to be desired. There is very little detail and faces are consistently off. It’s as if he uses photo references for some shots but when an angular or original drawing is needed the quality slips. There are some great panels in action scenes but there’s confusion as to what is taking place. The coloring is a mess as well with glaring mistakes. Ash’s mechanical hand is drawn the same as his left only colored silver, or worse, flesh. That’s right, his hand changes from normal to mechanical and it happens multiple times. One mistake can be forgiven but the attention to detail is just not there.

BOTTOM LINE: FOR HUGE, AND I MEAN HUGE, FANS ONLY

I really wanted to like this book. It had so much going for it: Steve Niles writing, a direct sequel to the movie and a fresh start for readers. Sorry to say, there’s nothing new and the art is poor. It cleverly picks up after the movie and feels like an Army of Darkness book but I’m not interested in reading more. Fans who absolutely love the film may enjoy but I can’t recommend it. As a huge Evil Dead fan I really struggled with this rating but Ash and The Army of Darkness #1 sadly earns 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆