"Ash vs. The Army of Darkness #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Chris Sims and Chad Bowers
Illustrated by Mauro Vargas
Colored by Triona Farrell
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 5th, 2017
Ash Williams has held many roles in his never-ending battle against the Deadites. He's been a warrior, an S-Mart employee, and now, a teacher. When someone at a local school gets ahold of the Necronomicon, turning folks into Deadites, Ash goes undercover to stop them. Now, Ash is fighting mutant frogs and dealing with annoying teenagers.
This wouldn't be too bad if Ash wasn't so far removed from society. His dialogue shows just how old he is and how he does not understand anyone born in the past thirty years. Granted, I'm sure that's true for many other people, but they're not the star of their own comic book. Ash's references are painfully outdated and his jokes fall flat, like your weird uncle trying out some gags at a family reunion.
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This might be part of the charm that is Army of Darkness. Perhaps it just hasn't aged well. I have fond memories of the movie and maybe it just works better in that medium than on the page. It shows that Ash is really only good at one thing and that's fighting Deadites. Everything else is just foreign to him. Ash's motivation for doing this in the first place is that he got fired from S-Mart and needs to fix up his car. That's rather flimsy to begin with.
Mauro Vargas' artwork works hand-in-hand with this hokey story, as he has a rather cartoony style. Everyone is impossibly skinny with big hands, like they're somehow related to the wacky inflatable arm-waving things you see in front of car dealerships. They look ready to fall over at a moment's notice, often appearing to sway in the wind like trees. The change in comparable size between the hands and the rest of the body is distracting.
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Adding to the cartoon nature of Ash vs. The Army of Darkness is the fight with the aforementioned mutant frogs. They start small and then Ash goes up against one big one. It's not a mutant like a Ninja Turtle. Instead, it's just a really big, talking frog. It's like Ash fighting Michigan J. Frog from the old WB commercials and it's just as ridiculous as it sounds.
Ash vs. The Army of Darkness has an interesting premise, but feels like an old man trying way too hard to stay relevant. It's like that meme of Steve Buscemi floating around from 30 Rock. “Hello, fellow kids.” This is one step below a Looney Tunes cartoon. It's a bummer because I really like this franchise and character.