DEATH TO THE ARMY OF DARKNESS #3, available from Dynamite on June 17th, transports Team Ash back to ancient Egypt on a mission to destroy the Deadite source. Writer Ryan Parrott and Artist Jacob Edgar craft a tale of hi-jinks in the desert that pits Ash against plagues of semi-Biblical proportions.
How Did We Get Here?
If you’re new to this story, Team Ash is technically a collection of alternate Ash’s with distinctively different looks and personalities. Rather than acting as a hive mind, they’re all Ash in name only, with original Ash, unsurprisingly, the most reckless and somehow most indestructible of the bunch. Ryan Parrot’s story plops Team Ash right in the heart of ancient Egypt, looking for the Deadite source to destroy it.
Ben Oliver’s cover captures the spirit of Ash in all the right ways. Bruce Campbell (aka The Chin) is known for his instantly recognizable facial expressions, so to capture just such an expression in a nearly photo-realistic way is quite a treat for Evil Dead fans. The composition is goofy to the point of slapstick, which suits the subject matter just fine.
In Parrott’s story, the team encounters an Egyptian Queen who’s suspicious of the team’s intentions and a Deadite Lord who challenges the team to defeat a mini version of the Ten Plagues. Does Ash survive? Of course he does, but the fun is in the journey, not the destination.
And that’s the big positive of this issue. It’s all about fun. Listening to Ash argue with other versions of himself as a bizarre form of split personality, personified. Watching “mini” Ash wrestle a deadly cobra into submission. There’s no scenario that’s too outlandish in Parrott’s writing, and as long as you don’t try to make sense of it, you’ll have a great time going along for the ride.
Jacob Edgar’s art juxtaposes nicely with Parrott’s story. Team Ash is always running towards, or away from danger, so nearly every panel is packed with action poses, and dynamic camera angles to build anticipation for the next scene. In addition, Ash’s signature outfit has been updated to suit the Egyptian setting, but it hasn’t changed so much that the spirit of Ash doesn’t shine through.
The one minor area that doesn’t quite land is the rendering of Ash’s face. As noted in the critique of the cover art, Bruce Campbell’s face is so distinctive; it becomes part of the roles he plays. To have Ash drawn in such a way that makes him look, to be honest, generic, and nothing like Bruce Campbell, was distracting. It would have been less distracting if the character, as drawn, was at least a reasonable facsimile of the titular actor.
Kike J. Diaz’s coloring works from a certain point of view. The issue is almost entirely bathed in earth tones, so it worked to immerse the reader in the constant, baking heat of the Egyptian desert. That said, there’s so much earth tone, it tended to make the book bland in a few spots. There were a few opportunities that should have been taken to switch up the palette, particularly when the team was indoors, to break up the monotony.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering is top-notch here. Not simply because the effects integrate organically on every panel, but because they mimic sounds perfectly from the films. I’ve seen Army of Darkness more times than I care to remember, and I know precisely what mini Ash sounds like when he’s screaming or laughing. Otsmane-Elhaou’s rendition of those same sound effects nails it and adds that extra layer of authenticity to this issue.
DEATH TO THE ARMY OF DARKNESS #3, available from Dynamite on June 17th, is exactly the kind of gonzo, crazy, horror-comedy antics you expect from Army of Darkness. The writing is silly fun, the art is strong overall, and the source material is treated with respect (Always a plus when it comes to adaptations). This book gets 4 out of 5 “Hail To The King, Baby”‘s.