Death to the Army of Darkness #2 Goes Back to the Well…Again

Ash Williams, a dark-haired man, stands in the foreground and is chopping a zombie in half, his face spattered with blood. In the background, a redheaded woman and a skeleton and dog both fight with demons The coloring is dusty, more and more so from the foreground to the background

The art gets a little better in Death to the Army of Darkness #2, and so far the writing is on-point. But can good crack win out? Or will yet another visit to Ye Old Cabin in the Woods lead to bad times?

Death to the Army of Darkness #2

Mirka Andolfo (Cover); Sergio Davila (Cover); Kike J. Diaz (Colors); Jacob Edgar (Art); ; Juan Gedeon; Ben Oliver (Cover); Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letters): Ryan Parrott (writing)
Dynamite Comics
March 11, 2020

A Red-haired woman clutching a bloodstained machete in her teeth stands menacingly before the reader, holding a chainsaw in her hands. Beside her is a boxer dog with a blue bandanna, and behind them in the shadowed fog a skeleton glares menacingly in the distance. They stand on a hilltop in tanned, fall-bleached grass

Death to the Army of Darkness is one of those delightfully bizarre concepts that shouldn’t work at all, yet surprisingly manages to make the wheels of its plot turn with humor and grace. Well, as much grace as a meaty, goofy concept like this might dare to serve up.

In this second issue, Ash, though wary, does bond with the various chunks of his soul. There’s Dash, formerly the professor’s dog, representative of Ash’s intellect. The redheaded woman is representative of his femininity. The mini Ash,  constantly stomping about, cursing and flipping the bird, is his impulsivity. The skeleton is his sense of fear, and his chainsaw is a representative of his aggression. They were split from Ash’s being during the professor’s incantation and now – with no way to return to his body – must try to figure out a way to coexist.

After a requisite stop at ye olde cabin and a now traditional confrontation with Linda’s reanimated corpse (a series of scenes that don’t really add anything unique to the mythos), the gang are whisked away by time portal into the past. Will they finally find succor and safety there?

Well, no, but the ultimate result of their mission has yet to be revealed. The second issue’s banter keeps it  worth reading – Ash battling a hyper-intelligent dog is and will always be fun – but it has its pitfalls. Like his own feminine side calling him a misogynist (I continue to bristle whenever comic writers suggest Ash is one). Probably the weakest part of the plot stems from the simple fact that with all of these parts of his personality excised Ash doesn’t act any differently than he normally does. Shouldn’t he be missing empathy? Or be dumber than normal?

Ash Williams - a tall, dark-haired man in a blue shirt - gleefully and bloodily slices a demon - or deadite - in half with a chainsaw while shouting that No one messes with his little friend. In the panel below, he has a conversation with his sentient chainsaw before a blue background

At least each of the portions of his inner anatomy, from the intellectual dog to his practical, wise feminine side, make a decent impression as original characters. They are not just “Ash but x,” a pitfall I feared the series might fall into. Parrott’s writing continues to be lively and, in general, understands the gestalt of Ash’s character. The best part of the cabin sequence is Ash’s dismay at having to “put Linda down for good” (this version of events does not bind itself to Evil Dead II or The Evil Dead’s version of things, depicting an entirely whole and very creepy version of Linda), a task he can’t manage and must fob off on the skeleton.

Diaz’ coloring is a stand-out in this issue, continuing to bathe Ash’s hellscape in a child’s paintbox of tones and lights. Edgar’s art continues to be sharp, and this issue comes off in a more rounded and less flat manner than the first issue did. The characters manage to leap off the page and feel much more alive.

Ultimately, Death to the Army of Darkness continues to appeal on a writing and art level, surprisingly the reader with its engaging rowdiness.