Bruce Campbell's iconic demon slayer meets Xena Warrior Princess, huh?
Feb 4, 2009
ARMY OF DARKNESS was Sam Raimi's sequel to his EVIL DEAD flicks which had long been fan favorites for their horror and for their cheerful abuse of the film's leading man Bruce Campbell. There were those fans, however, who were unhappy with the change of tone in ARMY and the way the gore and horror of the DEAD flix had been all but abandoned in favor of a more family friendly comedy/adventure approach. XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS was a groundbreaking TV series that ran for six seasons in syndication. It featured the strongest, smartest, most independent female hero ever to grace the small screen, and for at least four years of its run the series was wildly successful with its mix of comedy, action, and adventure, before it took a wrong turn and started taking itself way too seriously. Both these enterprises had the same production companies in common so it seemed inevitable that one day...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Both ARMY OF DARKENESS and XENA have gone the comic book route. Topps published over 60 issues of their Xena title before it closed, and later Dark Horse published two separate Xena series themselves. Dark Horse also did an adaptation of ARMY OF DARKNESS that coincided with the film's release, but let it go at that. Fans were left waiting for the comic adaptation of EVIL DEAD as well as the further adventures of its hero Ashley Williams until Dynamite Entertainment latched onto the titles a few years ago. Ever since that day Ash has not had one peaceful moment. They've yanked him back and forth from the past to the present and the present to the future and the future to the past so many times that he has a terminal case of temporal whiplash. He's faced off against everything that the redundant and ubiquitous Necronomicon Ex Mortis could throw at him including legions of your standard face munching undead, Herbert West, Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the personifications of the seven deadly sins, and Satan himself--not to mention a whole slew of zombified Marvel Super Heroes! In short, they've worn the poor guy ragged!
But just when you think they've run out of ideas--they offer us this one. The story they proudly proclaim: "No One Asked For". Well, if we didn't its simply because we didn't think of it! But as I said earlier, it was inevitable. ASH IN XENALAND!? It's a wonderful idea rife with possibilities. For example what happens when our ruggedly handsome hero Ash encounters that ruggedly handsome thief Autolycus?
Issue #1 of what was to be a 4 book arc is even better than I could have hoped! Each issue has 2 available covers, which is the minimum these days I suppose, with art by either the Udon Studios or Fabian Neves. The interior artwork by Miguel Montenegro takes some pains in the first issue to resemble the actors but lets that slide as we progress. But the story! The set up alone is near genius, and I'm not about to give it away either. The story is written by John Layman in issues 1-3, with Brandon Jerwa taking over in issue #4 which has a "To be continued" at its end! Will Ash simply pop into another reality or will his newest screw up of the magic words, "Klaatu Barada Chick Show", cause Xena and Gabrielle more problems as well? I can't wait to find out!
Is this for you? Sure, if you're a Bruce Campbell, EVIL DEAD, or XENA fan its a must have. Would it be possible to enjoy this with no prior knowledge of either of these franchises? Probably not.
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About the reviewer
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER. So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why the chicken … more
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