Army of Darkness #10


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Army of Darkness #10


  • Words: James Kuhoric
  • Art: Kevin Sharpe
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Ivan Nunes and Alex Jubran
  • Story Title: Ash vs. Dracula, Part III
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 20, 2006

Everything old is new – again and again and again. Another trip through time, another dark-haired beauty as love interest, another world overrun by deadites. Sigh….

In Army of Darkness #10, Ash travels into the past (Victorian-era Transylvania, to be exact) in order to find the one weapon that can stop Dracula and his deadite minions from scouring present-day Earth – the Spike of the Crucifixion! For anyone not in up to snuff on this latest of AOD storyarcs: it’s titled "Ash vs. Dracula," and purports to square off our fan-favorite character against the entirety of old-school, Hollywood monster-mash messes, including werewolves, mummies, the Frankenstein monster, and the one and only Count Vlad Tepes himself. It’s a heart-pumping, fan-boy dirty dream come true, at least in concept. The execution, however – especially now that three out of five parts have been published, marking the halfway point and leaving only the climax to come – makes me think "if wishes were fishes" as it leaves an ocean to be desired.

James Kuhoric, a chosen one himself, selected to bear the burden of chronicling the further misadventures of main-man Ashley, maintains the necessary commedia dell’arte humor and outrageous sense of nonchalant ambivalence as required for Ash’s dialogue (imagine James Dean if he were savior of the universe). Sadly, Kuhoric lacks all ability to fashion anything even remotely original besides, not even in basic, outlining form. In fact, the largest problem of the book stems from the writer’s (and most likely the editors are to blame here as well) sense of unspoken helplessness in the face of an already established cult formula. I do believe that the above mentioned qualities of oddball humor are required for any effective foray into AOD territory. However, I also believe that these are all that are prerequisite.

In both the original mini-series, the follow-up Shop ‘Til You Drop, the Re-Animator sequence, Old School, and now the last (but nowhere near the least) big battle between Ash and Dracky-poo, Kuhoric has held fanatically to the already consecrated ground in which the original movies tread. It began innocently enough, picking up right where the official ending of the third movie left off, but the incessant trips through time (the only way to stop an oncoming deadite invasion apparently), the numerous love interests that all, in the end, become possessed by the deadites and then die screaming at Ash’s hands (we’re up to three that this has happened to – three women that this has explicitly, blow-for-blow happened to!), and Ashley, of course, returning to his present day only to discover that he’s screwed the pooch and the deadites are not only not defeated but more resurrected than ever...well, it was old after the first mini, and now it just seems as if rolling in pig-trough leftovers to continue to do so, and for so bloody long.

In issue #9, Ash was sent into the past, and now here in #10 he meets Eva, the raven-tressed daughter of Dracula, and at the end we wind up back in the present and – oops! –the deadites have taken over the Earth! I didn’t see that one coming! Nope, not at all! (That’s oh-so-subtle sarcasm you’re detecting there.) Three themes, three movies, six comic stories, and why are we still spinning the same wheels? How in God’s name can a movie that defied the norm and more or less embraced and even defined the term "cult status" for a generation to come now be locked inside of its own hackneyed formula? Whatever the reasons for this creative negligence, this dearth of all muse, all inspiration, all verve, all spirit, all imagination – the very things that made AOD the wonderment that it is, that it will forever be remembered and cherished to be – whatever the cause for turning a bracingly original twist of genre into a vaudevillian routine that only the most ignobly nostalgic could evermore enjoy…whatever the editorial suppositions, they cannot possibly excuse the horror that this comedy franchise has become.

I will say that Kevin Sharpe’s gloriously un-inked pencil art is still as…er…sharp as it’s ever been. His lines are dark and gritty and ferocious as well as expressive and genuine and as nuanced as it is Kirby-archetypical. He draws a mean Dracula, a vicious werewolf, and a tragic Frankenstein, and of course his Bruce Campbell/Ash looks properly blunt-jawed, heroic, and pissed-off for having to be so noble – the perfect representation.

I’ll even go farther and give Kuhoric one (and only one) credit to this current issue – there is a two-page scene in which the writer plays brilliantly with the Frankenstein monster’s predicament of being lumped in with the likes of the other creatures. The exchange between him and Dracula is magnificent, and presents readers with the one and only surprise, the only unexpected scene that wasn’t an overbearingly integral part of a purely clichéd delineation. Two pages. Out of twenty-two. Personally, I can’t stick around to see this brilliant piece of low-budget cinema tarnished any further, and so I won’t. Remember, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it – this doesn’t have to be the official continuation of the movies, but it will if it’s allowed to be. All I can think is what a terrible thing that would be. Good-bye, Ash, I’ll see you in the movies….

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