We open issue six with a flashback that reveals how Ash has been fated to deal with the Army of the Dead. Since childhood he experienced nightmares that portended his future plight. Still stuck in the age of sword and sorcery, adult Ash reminisces on his paternal conflicts and the realization that his life has led up to this battle. A beer in hand and some time to kill, the memories roll in.
And he gets a sword to replace the chainsaw to fit the harness for his limbless right hand.
Ash quests to free the abducted (and possessed) Lady Sheila. While Arthur and Henry whish to help, this is a journey Ash must make on his own. All the while the evil Sheila has been busy amassing parts to reconstruct an even greater army of Deadites.
Venturing into the dark forest, Ash comes across the acolytes who worship him. The loyal, handless followers explain that a woman name Sulevia lives a hermit’s life yet knows all about Ash’s exploits.
At the castle Henry and Arthur flee with their followers to safety. Ash doesn’t have it so easy; he crosses paths with a hulking brute that offers challenge.
Nacho Tenorio illustrates some great details into this comic. For one, he puts the face of the demons into the moon outside young Ash’s window in a flashback. Also, the last panel of the comic takes on Ash’s perspective as he looks directly at the Sulevia’s boobs. That’s a classic Ash maneuver, and it translates well into the visual depiction.
The low point for this book is the writing. In the films that begat the title character, Ash possesses a gallows’ humor. He’s snide, flawed, and bratty. That’s part of the allure that makes him a unique anti-hero. In the comic, he comes off as a jokester with jokes that fall way flat. “The only thing wise about my dad was the chips he ate,” Ash retorts while thinking back about his childhood. This line made me groan because it’s a poor attempt at a joke that few people will get. Also, it’s uncharacteristic. Ash says things like “primitive screw-heads.” He’s mean and bitter, not comical and pun-wielding.
Also, the writing suffers from a lack of activity. Arthur and Henry move their citizens from the castle on a nice day with plenty of time to reflect. There’s no sense of urgency or fear. Evil Dead worked because it balances horror with comedy. We readers aren’t getting the horror so perfectly conveyed in the film versions.
Steve Niles can be a great writer. He just doesn’t have the vision that this comic needs to make it the best translation of the source material. And, unfortunately, the comic suffers for that.
Writer: Steve Niles Artist: Nacho Tenorio Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/23/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital