26th Feb2020

‘Death to the Army of Darkness #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ryan Parrott | Art by Jacob Edgar | Published by Dynamite Entertainment

death-army-darkness-1-cover

For a franchise that started way back in 1982, as a low budget indie film, The Evil Dead has sure got some staying power. Actually shot in 1979, it took a couple of years to get released, but then became a huge cult hit as word of mouth spread. It broke away from the ‘serious’ horror of the Seventies, films like The Exorcist, The Omen, The Shining etc, and combined gross out horror with very black humour to lead the charge for a new type of horror film. I first saw it when I was about 14, and have loved it ever since. Evil Dead II followed in 1987, not so original by then but still great fun, and the trilogy rounded out with the much bigger budget Army of Darkness in 1992, which took the radical step of swapping the cabin in the woods for England in 1300 AD. You had to be there.

If you are a fan, you knew all that, but if not, although three films and a TV series have come and gone there is only a very little introduction needed. Our hero, Ash, was the survivor of the cabin in the woods in the first two films, before being sent back in time to 1300 AD England in Army of Darkness to retrieve The Necronomicon, the book of the dead, from the Deadites (gross looking zombies essentially). This he does, and returns to his own time, to live happily ever after. Or so we thought. Ryan Parrott and Jacob Edgar, with Editor Nate Cosby, clearly have other ideas, as this book picks up 6 months after the events of the third film. Actually, it starts back in Ancient Egypt, where we are reminded how the book received its rather unique human skin cover. Hey, a book of the dead has to look the part, right?

To the present, and Ash, saviour of human existence, is doing a cleanup in aisle 5 of the supermarket where he works. Don’t feel bad, he enjoys his job. He also enjoys laundry day, though the sudden attack from a Deadite possessed woman is something he could have done without. Ash, fighting a Deadite, in a public laundry. Yep, I’d say Parrott has a good handle on his material. Ash kills it, of course, a nice subtle shotgun blast to the face, but comes to a realisation. He has to be proactive now, rather than reactive, as they will keep coming for him, The Chosen One, because his death will allow the rebirth of the Army of Darkness. You know what we need? Yep, an expert in ancient Sumerian texts.

That was what you said, right?

Ash finds Professor Tuttle, a leading figure in the field. Well, the best community college teacher he could find, considering both Stanford and Harvard laughed at his story when he told them. Ash has the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis with him, which he shows the Professor, and explains that it cannot be destroyed. He has tried everything, nothing works, he just wants rid of it. The Professor finds what he thinks is a severing spell, to free Ash from being bound to the book, but let’s just say it doesn’t quite go to plan. Mayhem, as it usually does ensues, and we get a drop down, kick out fight between Ash and the Deadites. Oh, and some other unexpected guest stars who I won’t spoil for you. Cliché though it is, big changes are on the way for Ash next issue, that’s for sure.

Overall, a fun return to the world of Ash and his Deadite enemies. Ryan Parrott captures the perfect tone for the book, the comedic horror mix, and the cartoony style art of Jacob Edgar fits well too. Although long time fans will be more than happy, I do wonder if the book might be a little confusing to any newbies, as very little explanation is given beyond passing exposition. Overall, I guess I have to contractually say that I would rate it…

Groovy.

**** 4/5

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