BOOK REVIEW: THE ART OF ARMY OF DARKNESS / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Bruce Campbell's Ash J. Williams may be heading back into Deadite battle with his forthcoming (and highly anticipated) Ash vs Evil Dead TV series, but the character has been having adventures for years in between in Dynamite Entertainment's comic book tie-in. This hefty tome collects the comic book covers of those adventures, from the official Army of Darkness movie tie-in to Ash's more recent escapades. No Marvel Zombies, Darkman or Freddy and Jason, though – presumably because of rights issues and (in the case of Freddy vs Jason vs Ash) different publishing houses. Not groovy.
Still, The Chosen One has had plenty of action outside of those particular stories, and The Art of Army of Darkness gets you plenty of other guest stars, including Xena: Warrior Princess, President Obama (!) and Herbert West, Re-Animator. Even if you're not familiar with most of the stories, there's an abundance of beautiful art to wrap your peepers around, from some of the best talent in the (mostly non-Marvel, non-DC) business. Nick Bradshaw, J. Scott Campbell, Ben Templesmith and Tim Seeley are among the names on show, in addition to a great many more. Not all of them capture Campbell's likeness spot-on, but it's good fun seeing the different interpretations of Ash and his Deadite world.
The covers come accompanied with a handy guide to the relevant stories, brief synopses ensuring that the less initiated should still get a basic idea of what Ash has been doing with himself since the events of the last movie. Even better, these comics have been out in trade paperback form for years now, making catching up an even easier experience.
At last, then, Dynamite's love of variant covers has paid off. At 256 pages, The Art of Army of Darkness is a veritable Necronomicon's worth of art, stretching out onto appropriately large, high quality pages. It's a worthy edition to any horror fan's coffee table and, unlike when perusing the pages of the Necronomicon, reading the thing won't even swallow your soul in the process.
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