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Losing Faith in the "Army..."

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  • Losing Faith in the "Army..."

    To the people in charge of the Army of Darkness comic book....

    I am not happy.

    Since the first issue of Army of Darkness hit newstands, I was snapping them up like no tomorrow. I loved the Army film, as well as the first two Evil Dead films it was spawned from. I loved Nick Bradshaw's artwork. I still do. I loved his art from back when he was just doind Evil Dead drawings for fan art! I feel that his style of "Don Bluth by way of Sam Raimi" is one of the best things to hit comics since I heard that Ghostbusters would be returning to the comics meduim.

    The team of Nick Bradshaw and Andy Hartnell (the Danger Girl series) performed an excellent job on the first storyarc: Army of Darkness: Ashes to Ashes. Excellent work, and for that I applaud them.

    Then, I picked up AoD: Shop Till Ya Drop (Dead) number one. A bit of good writing, Bradshaw's art is as excellent as ever, which leads to issue two. The writing was decent, and I liked the inclusion of some of the elements from the Evil Dead: Fistful of Boomstick video game (spefically, the diamond-bladed chainsaw). The main problem I had with that issue is that so much of it felt like it was rehashed lines and events from the film: the Mini-Ashes, the "Gulliver's Travels" bit, Iggy sprouting another head and getting a shrub trimmer duct taped to the stump of his hand...the list goes on.

    For the most part, the first two issues were good.

    And then I picked up issue #3.

    I loved the cover. I really do. It's excellent, and I had made --what I had thought-- were some obvious conclusions: Ash is holding a lightsaber (or beamsword, whatever), the Wise Man is back (after having used his potion to travel to the future), the evil-looking lady at the bottom was a villian that Ash would fight eventually, the stormtroopers at the top were the villian's deadite henchmen, and the girl who kind of looked like Sigourney Weaver would be Ash's love interest.

    I couldn't be more wrong.

    The moment I opened the book, I knew that something was horribly wrong. Ash looked off-model, too off for him to be drawn by Bradshaw. I looked at the credits, and I saw that some guy named Sanford Green had drawn this travesty.

    Honestly, I felt that the issue was unreadable. There was too much business in Greene's panels, so you couldn't really tell what was doing what to whom, the colors focused on one end of the spectrum for several pages, so you'd get a page where its nothing but shades of brown and black and another where its all shades of silver and grey and white; and the writing...oh, man. It was awful. Horrible. I have read bad fanfiction on the internet that was better than this. And the issue goes by too fast! There's too much "Ash, you're from the past/time travel is impossible/the Necronomicon program is a legend/oh, wait, it's real/Ash, go get it, and we can send you back to your own time through time travel, which we said doesn't really exist."

    It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. Which led to issue four.

    First off, I cheered because Bradshaw had returned. Secondly, the writing was slightly better than issue three, but it was still awful and too fast.

    I have actually tried to forget ever reading those two issues, they were so bad.

    In order to do that particular story properly, the writer, James Kuhoric, should have spread the story out to three issues instead of two. When reading three and four back to back, it seems as if there are important elements to the story missing, leaving plot holes reminescent of Star Wars: Episode I.

    Which brings me to the upcoming series: Army of Darkness vs Re-Animator. James Kuchoric is back as writer, and Sanford Greene returns on pencils, which immediately puts me at ill ease.

    A few months ago, I had read an article on Newsarama.com that outlined the basic plot for the upcoming series. At the time, I didn't have a knowledge of who Herbert West was, so I went along with it, saying the usual things at the message boads I frequent: "This sounds good! I can't wait!"

    Now that I've seen the Re-Animator films and read the original story by H.P. Lovecraft, I am actually quite dreading the title, and have found some elements from that Newsarama article that made me ask "Why?" and "How?"

    For instance, the article states that Ash is arrested and thrown into Arkham Asylum, which Herbert West is now the head of.

    Questions:
    1) How can Ash be thrown into Arkham when he's in Dearborn, Michigan? Arkham (while fictional) is in Massachussets, nearly five states away from Michigan. Unless Arkham has been relocated (and I mean, the entire town, not just the Asylum) brick for brick to Michigan, I'd say that this is a major discrepancy.
    2) Why is Herbert West suddenly the head of Arkham? One of his majors while attending the Miskatonic Medical School was, I believe, neuroscience, as he was obsessed with the Re-Animation of the brain. I remember vividly, Herbert's conversations with Dr. Hill in the first film regarding the six- to twelve-minute brain death barrier. Why, in the middle of all this, would he suddenly make a leap from neuroscience and perfected reanimation of the brain to psychology? This doesn't make sense.
    3) Herbert uses the power of the Necronomicon to bring about the Old Ones, written of in Lovecraftain lore? Wait a minute. This doesn't sound right either. Herbert posited --in the films and in the book-- that the soul does not exist. Herbert is a man of science. He believes in cold, hard facts, things that he can percieve as reality. Magic is not one of them. Why would a man of science be using a mystical tome such as the Necronomicon to bring about the destruction of the world? The logic here is astounding and unbelieveable. I seriously do not buy this plot point at all.
    4) Admittedly, the crossover is an excellent idea. But why would Herbert and Ash be fighting in the first place? Herbert wants to conquer death, and Ash --while he doesn't want to-- has to stop any evil Deadites. Personally, I see a story that's more of a team-up than an out and out fight.

    I have reached my final point, one that truly makes me lose faith in the comics: the lateness of each issue. I've seen the comics in Previews and on the Dynamite Entertainment webpage listed as having been released and on stands since July. I haven't seen any, aside from Shop Till Ya Drop (Dead) issue four!

    Now, I'm already dealing with a lateness from another company. I've ordered the Ghostbusters: Legion hardcover from Graham Cracker Comics, and I've still not recieved it. But, I'm not complaining. I'm a diehard fan of Ghostbusters, and I know that 88mph Studios is basically funded by one guy, so I've given them all the time they need. When I get the book, I will be happy.

    Not so from you guys, from Dynamite Ent. You were partnered with Josh Blaylock's Devil's Due Studios, and have several liscences under your belt that you are publishing.

    I've endured the semi-regualrity and lateness of the Army comic before, but this is truly getting ridiculous.

    The first strike was Shop issue number three.
    The second strike was Shop issue number four.
    What's the third strike going to be?

    I will be purchasing AoD vs Re-Animator when and IF it is released, but if the writing and art is as horrible as it was in Shop issue three, then I will have no choice but to discontinue purchasing the Army of Darkness series. At least, until a better writer and artist comes aboard.

    Sincerely,

    Dan P. (aka Cliff Roswell)

  • #2
    I just wanted to say that I agree with your analysis of the problems inherent in the Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator comics. Initially, when I heard about the idea, I knew it was going to be poor; the set-up makes no sense, particularly when it comes to Herbert's own mechanistic nature and the supernatural core of Army of Darkness. (Incidentally? There's no such place as "Arkham Asylum" in Lovecraft or in the Re-Animator movies. It's Sefton. Sefton Ward.)

    And, upon seeing Re-Animator #0, I feel absolutely justified. Wow. Was the plan just to throw all of Lovecraft's mythos into a blender and hope what comes out isn't crap? Well, it clearly didn't work.

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    • #3
      yeah cant stand sanfords art (sorry dude but im better than that!) and if your storyis mediocre at best you had best have bradshaw carrying you on his back.

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      • #4
        Sharpe has lost his edge.

        I agree with the other fellas. Bradshaws work is top notch! He definitely has a Don Bluth,with attitude, style to his work. And his quirky sketches of Ash worked with the story and added a new flare to Ash. Between the humorous writing and great illustrations, i no longer felt as if i was reading a spin off. The story arc started to take a life of its own. My problem was when they brought Sharpe in. Yeah i know Sharpes pencils are "pretty". And his artwork is great if you need a pin up or that bland style of "the big two". And he'll be more than happy to tell you that he's worked for just about EVERY comic company out there. But his panel to panel work is weak, and like i said his pin up stuff is great if you need a batman or hulk pin up. Those ARE really good! But AOD isn't about spandex. It's about demons, chainsaws, broads and one liners.Now as you turn the pages it looks like Sharpe loses more and more interest in the detail in the panels, and by the end of the book you just have a couple of rough sketches on the page. And it gets worse the more issues he does! Now i figure your trying to go for a more mature/horror genre with the latest arc but in my opinion, ya need to loose the pin up artist. Get Bradshaw back and make the book entertaining again. C'mon make it fun! That's the cool thing about Ash. It can be horror and funny! Now i know, i'm just "the nagging fanboy". But this fanboy has been reading the AOD comics since they started hitting the stands. And it's my dollar that takes them off the stands. And my dollar says if aint Bradshaw it aint coming off the shelf.
        Last edited by monkey boy; 05-08-2006, 10:55 PM.

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