Dejah Thoris scribe Mark Rahner takes on the voice of Army of Darkness-era Ash Williams for the first of four issues of this anticipated crossover event. He readily plumbs the customary wise cracks and mannerisms expected of everybody’s favourite demon-slaying funny man. But without Bruce Campbell’s dapper charisma, the gags fall flat. You just can’t fake that kind of sardonic delivery.
Rahner’s Dejah Thoris collaborator Jeff Morales does a great job of juggling Campbell’s likeness, capturing the jutting square jaw and forelock of his cinematic counterpart, but still stylised enough to exist as his own beast. And his take on Vampi, with a Latina quality about her features, is a stylish take on a very classic look. But the quality of the art lies in Morgan Hickman’s lurid colours, lighting everything up like a Giallo picture.
As a litmus test, the first issue neither has the sadistic wit of Evil Dead or the horror melodrama of myriad Vampirella adventures. In fact, it’s all pretty tame and, worst of all, predictable. While the first entry only showcased the initial meeting between the titular twosome (though Vampi herself doesn’t turn up until the last few pages), there’s only another three left to wow the reader. Still, the Tim Seeley collectible cover ought to convince you to buy a copy, even if the content doesn’t.
No stranger to Vampirella, it’ll be worth investing in the following issues to see just where Rahner takes her. It’s not a great start, but with two franchises this revered and recognisable, and personalities this big, it has everywhere to go but down.
INFO: VAMPIRELLA/ARMY OF DARKNESS #1 / WRITER: MARK RAHNER / ARTIST: JETHRO MORALES / PUBLISHER: DYNAMITE / RELEASE DATE: JULY 8TH