"Army of Darkness: Furious Road #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Nancy A. Collins
Illustrated by Kewber Baal
Colored by Schimerys Baal
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 13th, 2016
Ash Williams takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He's gotten older in years, but he's ready to throw down with all sorts of Deadite scum that stand in his way. After he was recruited by an assortment of monsters that almost all died horribly, Ash is rushing to a temple to try to banish all of this evil from the planet. Joining him on this quest is the severed head of Frankenstein's monster (aka Michael) and a whole lot of exposition.
This issue of Army of Darkness: Furious Road is very text heavy, as a number of characters share their backstories. Ash talks about how he's failed as a Chosen One. Michael goes into detail of how he came to join up with Dracula's daughter and the other monsters. Dracula talks to himself about his daughter and how she came to hate him. Each of these takes up at least a page, broken up by a handful of panels showing what the character is describing.
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I've noticed this with other books written by Nancy A. Collins. She tends to layer on the prose. As a novelist, this might be second nature, but it doesn't translate well to comics. It's doing a bit of a disservice to the artist, as the words and images are meant to work together. Instead, the artwork is like an afterthought. This also comes through rather unnaturally, as who sits there and swaps stories – or in Dracula's case, laments about the past – in the midst of all this death? It doesn't even serve the purpose of character development, as the details they describe are not pertinent to the story, especially in the penultimate issue of a mini-series.
Speaking of the artwork, Kewber Baal's pencils are hit or miss. There are some panels that are drop dead gorgeous, such as the shot of Dracula's daughter, Eva, standing outside the temple with a slew of arrows raining down around her. Then there are others, like Ash and Michael preparing to battle some kung fu monks, where the characters are barely formed and look like heaps of Silly Putty on the page. Baal seems to excel with gore. Those panels look particularly well-detailed and Schimerys Baal's colors round them out.
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The title, Furious Road, is certainly an attempt to cash in on the recent success of Mad Max: Fury Road. This time, it's the Deadites with the cars. The road is not very specific. They are definitely furious though. They're driving a ton of Mad Max-esque cars, many of which have dead bodies strapped to the front. They're definitely a terrifying bunch that I wouldn't want to be driving near.
Army of Darkness: Furious Road takes a moment to catch its breath before heading into the final chapter. Instead of setting up for a large battle, it packs in a ton of needless background information about a number of the characters that bogs down the book. At the end of the day, if you're a hardcore Army of Darkness fan, you'll probably find something to enjoy here. If you're just a casual fan, you will have a tougher time.