Review: Ash And The Army Of Darkness #2
A mysterious fighter comes to Ash’s aid and helps him get away from Wiseman and the Deadites. There’s a new wrinkle in the action though. Ash figures out that a key item has gone missing and if he survives the City of the Dead, he might be able to get home in one piece. Two at the most.
The new Ash and the Army of Darkness series rolls on this week with the release of its second issue. The story is written by Steve Niles with art by Dennis Calero. Marshall Dillon rounds out the cast with lettering. The first issue was a solid introduction into the Army of Darkness mythos, so how does the second installment measure up?
Ash is back in the past and has been captured by Arthur’s former Wise Man. He, or as Ash likes to call him Weird Beard, has been taken over by the Deadites and they need the help of one Ashley J. Williams. Ash is captured and forced to fight and take a beating for some unknown reason. It turns out a very important key has gone missing and Ash is the only way it can be found. Meanwhile a mysterious warrior is working their way towards Ash to try and save him from Weird Beard’s clutches. Can Ash hold out long enough until he can be rescued? He’s used to be the rescuer, how does he handle being the one rescued?
Niles writes a solid issue but it feels like it uses the 22 pages to give us two big plot points. First Ash figures out what’s missing and why he’s been taken, and secondly we find out the identity of his rescuer. There’s a few twists and turns along the way, but that’s the gist of it. Niles has never steered used wrong yet, so one groundwork issue is nothing to complain about. Calero’s art doesn’t feel like the best fit for the book. His characters are superb, but his backgrounds are near nonexistent. The artist uses a lot of oddly shaped panels that cut and slice into the page, but it makes things feel cluttered and doesn’t give you a real flow. It makes you stop reading while you try to figure out what happened. It’s a conundrum of being absolutely sparse but still feeling rather cluttered and clumsy. The stock action backgrounds and electric lighting doesn’t help.
Bottom Line: There’s a pretty solid story here but everything else feels like a misstep. Niles does appear to be laying out the groundwork for what looks to be a good story. The art doesn’t do much service to the written word though. The characters are spot on, but everything else could use a little polish. 2.5/5