Sunday, January 30, 2005

Army of Darkness: Shop Till You Drop Dead #1 - A Review

Written by: James Kuhoric
Penciled by: Nick Bradshaw
Colored by: Etienne St. Laurent
Lettered by: Josh Johnson
Editors: Kerry Schindl & Shawn Spurlock
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

So did you like the last five minutes of Army of Darkness?

Good. Go watch it again and you’ll get about as much as you do from reading this book.

Somewhat fresh from his battle at the end of “Army of Darkness: Ashes to Ashes”, Ash returns home to find out that his boss has billed him for all the product used and damages incurred during the battle with a zombie at the end of Army of Darkness: The Movie. Also, Shelia (the buxom babe from said film) has come forward in time (thanks to the events of a story yet to be told, according to the editor) and taken a job in Toiletries at the same S-Mart where Ash works in houseware and… well, debt aside it’s good to be the King.

At least until the walking dead show up and Ash finds out that for about the third time now, he’s totally screwed up destroying the Necronomicon. That’s the evil book responsible for raising the dead, killing his girlfriend and generally making Ash’s life a real pain in the neck for… well, a relative few months if there’s any kind of cohesive timeline to be had here. From there, we get a re-hash of the ending of the movie, with Ash blowing away one zombie at work and getting ready to do more of the same.

Maybe it’s wrong of me to expect more of a franchise that was built on parodying gratuitous action flicks to have a little more substance than is apparent here. But the humor that filled the films and Ashes to Ashes is sorely lacking here. Just set-up and action, that’s it.

At least the artwork, again by Nick Bradshaw, is manic enough to draw attention. His cartoonish style is perfect for depicting the wildness of the universe involved: where none of Ash’s co-workers question him upon his iron hand nor why his girlfriend shows up for work in a purple medieval dress. Still, purty pictures cannot disguise a lifeless narrative.

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