Comics : Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness #3

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

My name is Ash, and I am about to become Deadite chow. It all began with a book, The Necronomicon Ex Mortis. Roughly translated: the Book of the Dead. Bound in human flesh and inked in blood, it contains bizarre burial rituals and demon resurrection passages. It was never meant for the world of the living.

An archaeologist, Professor Raymond Knowby, stumbled upon the book and brought it up to a remote cabin in the woods where he began to decipher the text. What he did instead was wake up an ancient evil and gave it license to enter our world.

My girlfriend Linda and I came to that very same cabin on a vacation, stumbling upon the Professor's work...and the book. It got Linda.

Then, it came for me.

It got into my hand and it went bad, so I lopped it off at the wrist. But it was far from over. The Professor's daughter came to the cabin with pages lost from the book, pages containing an incantation to make the evil physical and send it back to whatever hell it came from. It didn't take.

Just when I thought the Deadites found a way to punch my ticket, I ended up thrown into a world full of costumed nutjobs who all became Deadites when one of their own starting taking big chunks outta them. Just when I thought I should let this whole screwy world go under I find a chica named Dazller with some nice, um, ASSETS. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, she knows of some muckity-muck who's into all this mystic mumbo-jumbo (Dr. Weird or something...) and she was set to take me there, till someone got the drop on me and grabbed me...

In Detail...

"Night of the Livid Dead"
Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness #3
Jul 2007 : SM Guest
Summary: Zombie Spider-Man appears
Editor:  Ralph Maccio
Writer:  John Layman
Artist:  Fabiano Neves
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Ash's life basically sucked. He felt he was meant for greater things rather than slaving away every day in the housewares department of S-Mart. With all these superheroes running around causing nothing but trouble, Ash longed for the day to show them all up and show them what a REAL hero was. That day finally came when the zombie infection began to spread. Grabbing a chainsaw and shotgun, Ash headed out to save the world; witnessing strange sites, taking on the zombie versions of heroes, and throwing out quippy one-liners along the way. The one thing he never counted on was seeing himself running with a hot babe in spandex.

Today was the day Ashley G. Williams discovered Ashley J. Williams.

Of course, this moment was short lived as the Ash of this world followed the other Ash and Dazzler to Dr. Strange's place, only to end up duck food for Howard. Dazzler does her best against the foul fowl, but it was ultimately the Ash we all know who steps in and carves himself a duck. While Ash pats himself on the back for saving her nice ass once again, Dazzler tries to warn him Howard is about to strike. But, Scarlet Witch steps in and turns him into glass with Ash delivering the shattering final kick.

Examining the other Ash, the lovely ladies learn everything he said was true. Dazzler asks Wanda for some info where she tells her that all the Avengers, active and reserve, were infected and she survived by running away. She figured Ash was their only hope and grabbed him to talk to him about saving their world; a slim chance at best. Ash cuts things short as Zombie Thor flies by overhead. They break for Strange's Sanctum and head inside.

There, they discover Dr. Druid feasting on Wong. Druid manages to hold on to his humanity long enough to show them to the library before Ash puts him out of his misery. They begin to search the books and Ash stops Dazzler from grabbing one, telling her they bite. Using a pair of tongs from the fireplace, Ash pulls out a book with a face and demands answers about the Necronomicon. The book brushes him off, and he throws it into the nearby fire. Wanda pulls out the next book and Ash readies his chainsaw to encourage some answers. This book is a bit more helpful and tells them they can find the book in Latveria. Wanda announces she has a Quinjet nearby as Dazzler spies a zombie Power Pack attacking people outside the window. They also stand between them and the Quinjet...at least until the heroes of Nextwave blow through them.

Ash and his companions use the distraction to breakaway and head for Latveria, where he shrugs off the warnings about Latveria's ruler. Of course, all that is moot when they arrive, finding the country under siege by the zombies!

In General...

Army of Darkness references galore! And done right! The AoD series dictionary somehow took the concept of homages and replaced them with original concepts. Most of the comics featured not only reused scenes from the movies, but also dialogue. Lots and lots of dialogue. The first mini-series, Ashes 2 Ashes, is composed almost entirely of the AoD script with lines thrown in different orders. Here, you get a reference to a scene from the movie as well as a legitimate homage to the movie's heroic painted poster in the form of Ash G.'s fantasy. Perhaps Dynamite should look into getting John Layman to take over the series after this.

Anyway, back on point. We got a nice twist in the end of the last issue with two different Ash's being grabbed by characters with the same colored gloves so you didn't catch on that it was actually an alternate Ash being eaten and not our hero. Although, one could have noticed Ash's flesh- colored right hand (the hand he cut off and replaced with the chainsaw or armored prosthetic, depending on his mood) in that final panel, but disregarded it as a coloring error. Also, this issue features Nextwave in their first legitimately funny appearance EVER.

This was the best issue of the mini so far, giving some creative twists and turns as well as throwing in some unlikely cameos. You also have to love Ash's one-liners, including a Disassembled reference as the alternate Ash was carving up Hulkling. Also, the pompous Ash attitude really showed here. Very clever stuff that continues to do both properties justice.

Overall Rating...

5 Webs. Proper homages, groovy twists, a DECENT AoD adaptation and making Nextwave funny. If there was ever a call for a 5, this issue has it in spades.

Footnote...

Cover Parody:

First Print: Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 Variant: Death of Captain Marvel Graphic Novel