Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #3
Scott Duvall (writer), Scott Duvall, Diego Galindo, Robert Hack, Tom Mandrake (covers), Taylor Esposito (letters), Vincenzo Frederici (art), Kevin Ketner (editor), Michele Monte (colors)
April 10th, 2019
With Las Vegas behind them, Elvis and Ash take to the friendly skies in an attempt at getting the Necronomicon to safety in Graceland’s underground bunker, where it will hopefully rest for all eternity. An fortunately-timed drug trip and a Deadite-infested flight crew combine to create a total disaster, and soon Elvis and Ash are fighting for their lives as their plane plummets toward earth.
The third issue of Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep is an improvement over the second, which lost its way in meaningless and, worst of all, not particularly entertaining action sequences. The third issue manages to refocus on an alternation between cheesy action and meditative character work. We’re finally back within Elvis’ POV, and he continues to provide a funny kind of grounding for the ridiculousness of the general plot. The dialogue is sharper; there are funny references to Elvis’ film Charro!, various Elvis songs, and to the unproduced screenplay for Bubba Ho-Tep’s sequel, Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires. At one point, Elvis gives Ash the opportunity to be ‘the king’ and take over for him, but Ash turns him down when Presley suggests he undergo plastic surgery to better fit in with the role. That would mean shaving several inches off of that signature Campbell jawline: ‘you don’t mess with the chin’, he says defiantly. You know the style of cheesy and campy humor they’re going for, and this time it sings like the whistle on a “Mystery Train”.
There is some truly inventive panelwork going on here by Frederici—whenever, for instance, a drug-induced flashback sets in, Ash or Elvis will suddenly be seen in pastel-colored, pop art-style hues. The characters leap out of the frame in showy, single frame action, and havoc splatters around them like bone and gristle endowed halos. The art is truly great in that manner, and is as inventive as it was in issue #1. The likenesses are accurate, the designs of the new Deadites work beautifully, and there’s one particularly funny panel where Ash envisions himself as the ‘king’—in the manner of a child’s cartoonish drawing.
The color work by Michele Monte is brighter here—much less dreamy and foggy than they were during the Vegas sequences—to reflect both the hellish descent of our heroes and their drugged up states of mind. There are neons that are worthy of a migraine, and dark, blueish mysterious shadows. Every sky is a little less realistically blue the next time we view it, and the gold of money and puss prevails. Michele Monte’s color work really has been exemplary throughout the series, and this issue is no exception to that rule.
Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #3 improves overall over the second issue, and is well worth tracking down —though it’s still not quite a hunka-hunka burning love.