"Ash vs. The Army of Darkness #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Illustrated by Mauro Vargas
Colored by Triona Farrell
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 2nd, 2017
Alan Shepard High School has a bit of a pest problem. It's not dealing with termites or mice. We're talking deadites, and no amount of pesticides are going to keep them at bay. Fortunately, substitute teacher Ash Williams is on the case. Now he's got to keep the handful of students he's kept after class alive, which is easier said than done when the school itself is trying to kill them.
My earlier criticisms of Ash vs. the Army of Darkness still stand, as it's essentially a cartoon, however the comic seems to find its bearings a bit more here. Ash is in his element when fighting monsters big and small, and we get all kinds in this issue. First up is the army of trophies that come alive and start pounding, stabbing, and pouncing on the students. It's reminiscent of Ash's fight against the miniature versions of himself in the movie.
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Artist Mauro Vargas makes these little figurines equally creepy and hilarious. They're emotionless little monsters who will hit you in the shin and stab you in the eye. These creatures are where Vargas excels. The human characters look like dandelions waving in the wind. They're tall stalks that flow and contort based on their surroundings.
The real star of Ash vs. The Army of Darkness is colorist Triona Farrell. She delivers the terror with brilliant red hues that appear as the evil descends upon Ash and the students. It's a startling red that highlights the unnatural quality of the deadites they're fighting. This is coupled nicely with shadow to amp up the terror, setting it apart from the humorous beginnings.
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That isn't to say that there isn't humor, or at least attempts at it. Most of it falls short and comes across as very corny, which is unfortunate, as the book is trying so hard. It's like a cheesy uncle cracking outdated jokes. Horror and comedy can make great bedfellows, but the match isn't quite right here. Every time the book gets into the spooky elements, the creators pull back and resume the joke machine, effectively nullifying any scares up until that point.
There's a nice twist towards the end of the book that could have great effects for Ash's role as the Chosen One in the battle against the deadites. I'm very curious to see how this will play out. At the bare minimum, I hope that it provides a respite from the corny gags that have been peppered through the book so far. Ash vs. The Army of Darkness has the potential to do some cool and interesting stuff with the character.