Are you a Bruce Campbell fanboy? Do you feel a decided lack of hot, half-naked vampire women in your life? If so, then this book is absolutely for you! It is a story that is a re-telling of the Army of Darkness film, but with Vampirella dropped right in the middle of the story to wreak havoc and just really throw a wrench in literally all of Ash’s plans. I definitely was not sure of what to expect from this series going in, but I was definitely hopeful that with the “Ash vs. The Army of Darkness” series from Starz! coming up this fall, I assumed that this would a a book that is handled well.
The book opens with Ash holding court (literally and figuratively) over Lord Arthur and his knights at a feast before Ash leads these people against the Deadite hoard. It diverges pretty quickly when Vampirella is dropped right into the castle, and things will obviously go well for everyone with Ash being a jerk, and Vampirella being a vampire looking to feed. It was nice to see Ash in his downtime a little more in the Army of Darkness story, as he is starting to influence these people and swing them to his cause. I liked seeing Ash and Sheila doing the literal “pillow talk” but being interrupted by the screams of Vampirella’s first victim. I thought it was fun to see Sheila actually standing up to Ash for his chauvinistic treatment of “wenches”, and to see another night co-opting Ash’s “gimme some sugar, baby” and butchering it wonderfully. Not to mention that the knight uses it on Vampirella, who then in turn uses it on Ash, but through some great medieval game of telephone, the phrase got distilled to the sexually suggestive and guileless “do you want sugar?”. Which made me laugh literally out loud.
I was hopeful that this book would look and feel like an Evil Dead story, and it really succeeded in that, because the characters all seemed to be very accurate versions of their on-screen counterparts. I really liked the way the book looked as well, because it was tonally very similar to the Army of Darkness movie, which I am very partial to. I have watched Evil Dead 1 & 2 and Army of Darkness countless times, and even went to several midnight showings of the movies at a local theater on Friday nights- what a wonderful and innocent (hah!) way to spend a Friday night. I still remember my first trip to the midnight show, and how it was just like a Monty Python showing with people quoting the screen and dressed in all sorts of awesome costumes. I feel like this is the kind of story that someone in that crowd could have come to life in a livejournal fanfic, but that is actually handled much better than a lot of the fanfic I have read.
I liked this issue a lot, mostly because I am a big fan of all things Army of Darkness. I really am hopeful for this new Ash vs. The Army of Darkness TV show this fall, and if the new trailer from SDCC is any indication, then it will be a pun-loaded, blood-soaked, weird, wild, hot mess of a show and I will love every minute of it. This book is probably not for everyone, mostly because it isn’t a book that has a very low accessibility hurdle- you need to have at least a cursory knowledge of the Evil Dead series. I haven’t read the newest Evil Dead 2 comic, but I am going to guess that if it is similar in tone to this book that it will be a fun, interesting read for any Evil Dead fans.
Check out this book, and do what I’m planning to do now- go back and re-watch all the Evil Dead movies, plus the new reboot. I am excited to see if the news of a possible Evil Dead 4 film that bridges the worlds of Ash’s films and the newest rebooted series, because I actually really liked the Evil Dead reboot. I love Bruce Campbell too; and in pretty much everything he does, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I enjoy seeing more of him in comic book form.