IN 2008, according to Wikipedia, Ash Williams—portrayed by actor Bruce Campbell in the celebrated Evil Dead film and television franchise—was selected by Empire magazine as the 24th greatest movie character of all time, and in 2013, was voted by Empire as the greatest horror movie character ever.
In 2017, judging by how well his career as a comic book character s going, Ash may just have to prepare himself for further distinction.
The destroyer of Deadites has had a colorful history on the printed page, appearing in series for such publishers as Dark Horse, Marvel, and Dynamite, taking on everyone from Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees to Dr. Herbert West and his re-animated corpses. But it’s in his own element, battling undead monstrosities spawned from the pages of the Necronomicon, where Ash is most at home, and that’s right where he is this week in the first issue of Dynamite’s Ash Vs. The Army of Darkness.
Issue #1, entitled Detention!, finds Ash working undercover as a high school teacher in the suspicion that a student or students may be reading the ancient, human-skin-bound Necronomicon, or, Book of the Dead, in order to learn its deadly secrets. If you’re familiar with Ash’s character, you’re probably already excited at the prospect of him matching wits with high school students, or, “slack-jawed delinquents,“ as he affectionately calls them. And you won’t be disappointed. Writers Chad Bowers (All-New Guardians of the Galaxy) and Chris Sims (Civil War II: Choosing Sides) play Ash for all he’s worth—every wisecrack, needless insult, and sarcastic aside in place. Ash is not subtle. “I don’t suppose any of you kids wanna swallow my soul or anything, huh?” he asks a stunned group of students, and we can’t help but ponder how differently our own lives might have turned out had Ash worked at our school.
Ash Vs. The Army of Darkness #1 is available both digitally and in comic shops this week, and I highly recommend it. If the first issue is any indication, this series will be a keeper.
NOTE: This series was actually set-up in a special 16-page #0 issue last month. It’s still available, for around a buck, but you don’t have to have read it in order to get into this storyline.