Wednesday, October 19, 2016
New Book Wednesday Pick of the Week: Evil Dead 2: Dark Ones Rising
Now I know conventional comics wisdom would have me taking the overdue sixth issue of Frank Miller's DK III: The Master Race for this week's pick or even DC Rebirth's Batman # 9, which looks to be a monster story with Bats recruiting the Suicide Squad for a hard run at Bane. Both are on deck in my reading pile, along with another contender, Black Panther # 7 and Usagi Yojimbo # 158 from the inimitable Stan Sakai, a guaranteed pleasure pill. The debut of Infamous Iron Man today featuring Dr. Doom in his own special battle suit? Intriguing and no doubt flying off the racks this week.
Hey, Halloween will be here faster than you can say "Bubba didn't do it!!!" (i.e. the superb teleflick Dark Night of the Scarecrow) and we're knee-deep in blood and shit with Season 2 of Ash vs. Evil Dead on the Starz network. Me being as much a gonzo horror geek as well as comic book nerd, it was a lock the minute I saw the mock Friday the 13th variant cover to Space Goat Publishing's second Evil Dead 2 spinoff miniseries, Dark Ones Rising.
I'll never forget 1987 when Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn hit theaters. I was precisely two months shy of my 17th birthday when the film came out, which you'll recall (assuming you were alive that magnificent year) was rated NC-17. Now I'd gotten myself and my neighborhood posse into the Friday the 13th slashers as early an age as 14, so suffice it to say, I was livid to be denied entry into Evil Dead II over a two month technicality. Yeah, I tried. I even bribed an usher I was friendly with by offering him a batch of Hustlers I'd pilfered from my dad's bachelor pad. No dice.
I've thought of this during every episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, in particular the barf-inducing second episode of this season. You know where I'm going if you've seen it already. The same place Ash went, where nobody, not even James Tiberius Kirk himself has ventured: up the scrote and bunghole of a cadaver. As a Facebook friend of mine posted, you can't unsee that sequence ever. Here I thought The Human Centipede had set the bar on debauchery decades after the nauseating Cannibal Holocaust and Make Them Die Slowly.
Thus, it's anticlimactic coming to SGP's Evil Dead 2: Dark Ones Rising, thus far a much tamer ride, largely due to slowly cruising in expository mode. Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment already ran their courses through expansions of Army of Darkness. SGP has since acquired the licensing to take Evil Dead 2 to all sorts of looney places (to the feet of martians, Jack the Ripper, Krampus and freaking Adolf Hitler via the Evil Dead 2: Revenge one-shots) with the proposal a lot of crazy crap occurred along Ash's trek to Hell's version of Medieval Times. This involves resurrecting Professor Knowby's daughter, Annie as Ash's enduring sidekick, this despite her biting it at the end of the Evil Dead II film.
Prior to Dark Ones Rising, SGP ran the Evil Dead 2: Tales of the Ex-Mortis miniseries, where Ash and Annie fought their trans-dimensional way back to Earth, which is where this new one picks up. Annie has survived, and presenting the first "hmmmmm" moment, she torches the Necronomicon and breaks the demon dagger in half. Now, you Evil Dead freaks are likely to be doing what I did pausing on this page: singing "Weeeee'rrrrrrrre goooonnnna geeeeet youuuuuuu...weeeeee'rrrrrrrre goooonnnna geeeeet youuuuuuu..."
Though Annie's presumed Ash to be dead upon her re-entry into the real world, this is the Evil Dead-verse, which means Ash's return is somewhat of a spectacle. Writer Frank Hannah brings Ash back into the picture through the mud hole of a cow pasture. The way the scene is artistically portrayed, one could interpret Ash being shat out of bovine butt, which would've been one to rival Episode 2, Season 2 of Ash vs. Evil Dead. In fact, we being the degenerate horror hounds we are, we kind of expected such a grody arrival. This is a teen-rated comic, though. NC-17 doesn't bind it to the same splatter convictions as its namesake, though we're hoping for the red red groovy in the next two issues.
Seemingly defenseless without the proper artifacts needed to take on deadites (including Ash's missing stump-saw, his restored hands being more in line with the original Evil Dead film), a soul-collecting Goliath emerges from a massive chunk out of the road where a small town used to be. With Ash finally starting to get back to his wisecracking self after coming off as vulnerable and shell-shocked, he and Annie are forced to hightail it. Annie has a plan on the assumption this is the only force of hell they're contending with for this round.
We know better, don't we? Theyyyyy'rrrrrre gooooonnnnna geeeeeet themmmmmmm...