Hail to the King.
Gimme some Sugar, baby.
Klaatu, Barada, Ni*cough*.
If these phrases bring back fond memories of Ash Williams and his time travelling adventures fighting the Deadites, then you have come to the right place. If, instead, you are really confused so far, check out the three original Evil Dead movies by Sam Raimi, ending with Army of Darkness which is where this week’s Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 from Dynamite picks up. In the first two movies, Ash Williams, S-Mart employee, travels out to a cabin in the woods with either a group of friends or just his girlfriend. This is a minor rewrite in the story in Evil Dead 2. Anyway, everyone dies, except Ash, after some Khandarian demon is awakened and swallows everyone’s souls. In the ensuing chaos, Ash loses his hand and attaches a chainsaw to his stump to fight the Deadites.
After overcoming the monsters, or so he thinks, he is hurled back in time to defeat them for good in Army of Darkness. He meets up with King Arthur in the middle of a battle with undead creatures and is sent on a mission to retrieve the ever-present, ever-troublesome, Necronomicon, the book of the dead. This book contains secret passages that can conjure up creatures with unspeakable power. So, Ash is sent to retrieve it, screws up, and ends up releasing an army of the undead led by his evil doppelganger. Much fun ensues.
Finally, Ash returns to his own time, only to find out that maybe he didn’t say the magic words exactly right and the Deadites are once again raging war against humanity. As the comic picks up, a very close shot for shot of the end of Army of Darkness, Ash and co-workers fight off a bunch of creatures within S-Mart and, as they close up shop and step outside, Ash finds himself still in the past, in the war ravaged world he just left.
Turns out that Weird Beard, or as we may know him, Merlin, Arthur’s magician, was given the Necronomicon for safe keeping, and, against better judgement, read the book. Now he leads the Army of Darkness out to rule the world. Ash is hauled off by the monsters, his co-workers slaughtered, and his boomstick broken in two. What will happen to our bumbling hero?
At the end, Arthur is really worried about the state of the war. News comes to him of the possibility of Ash’s return. And a mysterious armored knight steps from the shadows…
I really enjoyed this story and I found it very easy to get into for anyone who is a fan or has never seen even one movie. I also like that they basically recount the story up to now in the first couple of pages. Steve Niles writing is spot on and the artwork of Dennis Calero is a sweet addition. With the rumors of Sam Raimi ready to pen a script for Army of Darkness 2, it makes me wonder what is going to happen with this comic series and that franchise. Check this one out, I recommend it.