Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review - Army of Darkness: Furious Road #1 (@DynamiteComics)


"Twenty years from whenever 'now' is: this is what's left."

Ash goes up against the Deadites on more occasions than he'd probably like. Yet every time, he still manages to come out on top. Dynamite Entertainment delves into his unique life experiences again in Army of Darkness: Furious Road #1. The issue is written by Nancy A. Collins, illustrated by Kewber Baal, colored by Schimerys Baal and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Twenty years from "now": The Deadites and their Army of Darkness have succeeded in bringing down Western civilization. An unexpected upshot of the demons taking over was supernatural species such as vampires, witches, and werewolves forming an uneasy alliance with humanity in order to survive. The only hope for both mankind and monsters alike is a ritual that will send the Deadites back to the hell that birthed them. But first, a rag-tag crew that includes the Frankenstein Monster and Eva, the Daughter of Dracula, have to track down the fabled spell book known as the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and deal with its guardian, a certain Ashley "Ash" Williams.

The more things change, the more things stay the same for Ash and his world. Collins spends much of Army of Darkness: Furious Road #1 introducing the reader to all the new characters who are looking to be friends with Ash, primarily in the name of obtaining the Necronomicon. And it's a very eclectic mix of characters, each of whom Collins infuses with very unique personalities that manage to work together very well. Aside from the characterization though, there's really not a lot going on in the first issue, as most of it feels like a chase that ends up at S Mart. Ash makes an almost gratuitous appearance and he'll obviously have a larger role down the road, but he feels more like a guest character by the end of the issue than anything else.

Baal's illustrations are very dark and violent, befitting the atmosphere Army of Darkness trades in. Each of the aforementioned differing characters have an equally distinctive look to them that makes the ragtag label very appropriate. The polluted environment of Detroit and its environs in the apocalyptic world are captured very well, courtesy of Baal's emphasis on abandoned vehicles and buildings. Blackening the gutters allows the various panel layouts and styles to stand out better and put more emphasis on the characters. Schimerys Baal's colors are dominated by greys, browns and blacks, all of which seem very appropriate for the setting.

Army of Darkness: Furious Road #1 has everything one would expect from a book in the Army of Darkness universe. That also means that the story will likely feel very familiar to those in the know of the universe. Collins does an admirable job of attempting to breathe new life into it, but at the end of the day it looks like it's going to come down to Ash saving the day yet again. Baal's illustrations rely on the style to convey to the reader the sense of despair those characters are forced to inhabit on a daily basis. Army of Darkness: Furious Road #1 will definitely be appealing to readers who can't seem to get enough Ash.

Army of Darkness: Furious Road #1 is in stores March 2.

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