Since the late 2000s, we’ve had a virtually nonstop supply of Army of Darkness comics. Ash has gone through time and back again, has fought everything from Freddy and Jason, Herbert West, Darkman and even Xena: Warrior Princess. When the Evil Dead 2 comics were first announced, I couldn’t help wondering “Do we actually need this?”
Maybe we don’t. Maybe comics based on our classic horror films aren’t a basic human necessity, but they sure feel like it. Going into this, my greatest concern was that a follow-up to Evil Dead 2 would negate Army of Darkness and essentially reboot the whole continuity.
While I can’t speak for further volumes, the first story arc gets around this problem in a really inventive way. Annie Knowby—the true protagonist of the book, really—makes a new Ash out of his possessed hand to help her find her way out of Hell. This is kind of a genius way to go about solving the issue, because it allows Ash to be in two places at once. Yes, he’s still out there having his most excellent adventure through time. But he’s also here, trying to fight his way out of Hell so he can get back home.
This does mean that the Ash we’re treated to in this issue is not the “real” Ash, but that’s kind of interesting in its own way. This version was created from Annie’s blood and has deep ties to her and even remnants of her personality mixed with the Ash we know and love. It’s an interesting combination.
I’m sure it’s not what every fan wants, necessarily, but it’s a smart way to keep the book separate while also allowing the character of Ash to be taken in new directions. Even if I can’t tell if the idea of Ash having his period is stupid or hilarious. Like Ash himself, it might be both.
The artwork is strong. There’s a bit of a change of hands in the first issue, which I’m not always a fan of. But once it settles into a main artist the whole thing hits its stride. I’ve always been a fan of Oscar Bazaldua in general and thought his style lent itself to the bigger, hellish landscape.
There are great monsters, all sorts of creatures, and the thing that I think makes this story work is that it’s so much bigger than the film. It’s a story that could only be told in comics. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel bigger in terms of the characters. That’s the only way to make a comic based off of a smaller-scale horror property work. There’s a sincerity to it.
All in all, it’s not what you expect from an Evil Dead comic. It’s definitely an Evil Dead 2 comic entrenched in all of the mythology of that particular feature. But Ash is all over comics right now and sometimes a little different is exactly what we need.
WICKED RATING: 7.5/10