I have been a fan of the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness series since I was 10 years old. I’ve owned every version of the movies that have been put out and can probably quote every line. So when we started Geeks With Wives & Capes I was excited that one of my first opportunities for review was a series with my favorite character, Ash.
Army of Darkness was the final entry in the Evil Dead movie series (until this year). Ash is an everyman who has been put into extreme situations such as fighting demon-possessed girlfriends to cutting off his own hand to traveling back to medieval times to fight an army of deadites. All of this thanks to the Necronomicon Ex Mortis (roughly translated: Book of the Dead).
As the name mentions, this is a mash up with the popular Hack/Slash series. Hack/Slash is a horror/comedy comic that takes a humorous, tongue-in-cheek approach to fighting evil. They play with relationships between unusual partners as well as unexpected love interests.
While my excitement to begin this series is very high, there is a level of concern. Previous comic book attempts at Army of Darkness have not been highly successful. I suspect this is due to the fact that so much of the series’ success comes from the slapstick nature of the most popular movies in the series as well as the very cheesy (and fantastic) delivery by Bruce Campbell. Also, Hack/Slash had many of the better moments while Cassie interacted with her very entertaining supporting cast. I’m not sure there will be much room for them while teaming up with S-Mart employee of the month, January, 1999.
The art style is the first thing I noticed. The scenery and the characters have been given much more detail in this series than in their previous comic book versions. A much more adult style. While this is impressive in some instances, there are a number of times where the art pulls me out of the experience. I can appreciate an artist’s take on subject material and desire to change things up, I can’t help but wonder what I’ll be getting into when even the front page gives me a rendition of Lara Croft and Richard Armitage. There is more love for the Hack/Slash characters, but you can’t simply throw a chin on a guy and expect we’ll see Ash.
As many of you will know from the Geeks With Wives & Capes show, I’m newer to comics. So I cannot say if every 1st issue of a crossover suffers from this, but nearly all of this issue was used for back story. Filling the readers in on who the characters are. Very little was done in the way of explaining what was going on. Even less was explained regarding why these 2 characters should be working together. Tim Seeley did make a point to include some of the better points of Ash and Cassie. Pointing out how Vlad and Margaret have affected Cassie in the past and in the present. Ash, of course, has his metal hand, boomstick and his dry wit.
Overall, I would not say this is one of the peak moments in the timeline of either character. I would say this is the issue where we get all the origin stories and meet ups out of the way. The artwork at many points was entertaining and it is always fun to see interaction between characters you wouldn’t expect to meet. I am looking forward to how these two work together going forward and, if I enjoy the remainder of the series, I will be glad to have issue 1 to complete the set (I can be a completionist sometimes), but this is not a comic I would go back to read multiple times.