Comics : Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness #5

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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. Me and my two lovely associated, Dazzler and the Scarlet Witch, headed across the pond to invade Dr. Doom's castle (are they serious with these names?) where a book in Dr. Strange's place told us the Necronomicon was. Found the book, didn't like what it had to say, but then I found yet ANOTHER gorgeous chick named Enchantress (such an accurate name) being held prisoner by Doomsie. So, of course, I did the only gallant thing by helping her escape and now she wants to thank me with a little sugar. Oh, baby. If it wasn't for all the flesh eating Deadites running around, I could learn to like it here.

In Detail...

"The Stalking Dead"
Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness #5
Sep 2007 : SM Guest
Summary: Zombie & Werewolf Spider-Man Appears
Editor:  Ralph Maccio
Writer:  John Layman
Artist:  Fabiano Neves, Fernando Blanco, Sean Phillips
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Enchantress has Ash within her thrall, so he doesn't see she too has been possessed by the disease infecting the rest of the world. Dazzler tackles him to save him from her fatal bite and blasts Enchantress to wreck her concentration and reveal to Ash what she really is. In the process, she gets bitten. Before anyone can react, Doom appears and blasts both women to oblivion. Doom and Ash are ready to throw down over that decision when a lackey runs in to tell Doom the infected heroes he warded off earlier have returned.

The heroes break through Doom's impregnable castle (which Ash calls Doom on) with Beast telling him they altered Cerebro to find a fresh supply of food, which would within Doom's castle. That's when Doom is fed to his foe, Mr. Fantastic. Ash readies a retreat with Scarlet Witch, until he discovers she's being eaten by Punisher. Ash ponders the Necronomicon's words and realizes there's not much he can do...until he gets an idea.

Back in the library, Ash confronts the Necronomicon getting it to help him by informing it that because it's made of human components the zombies will start on it after they finish with Ash. That's enough to get the Necronomicon to help by raising a true army of Deadties and use them to attack and slow down the zombies. Of course, slow down was about all they could do against the powers of the zombies.

Ash and the Necronomicon make for the inter-dimensional transporter it tells him about, where they find Doom fighting off his infection long enough to send the people he was protecting through to safety. Ash readies to follow as Doom assures him the zombies won't be able to follow. The Necronomicon begs him to hurry through, but Ash tosses the book aside and leaves it behind. Once gone, Doom destroys the machine just as the zombies invade the chamber. As they deal with Doom, Wolverine picks up the book where it informs him that eating it won't be a pleasant experience. Wolverine informs him nobody wants to eat a book, and hands it off to Hulk as toilet paper.

Ash arrives on various worlds, checking to see their tolerability before moving on to the next and finally finding one that looks like New York without any zombies. He walks through, satisfied, until he turns around and finds a bunch of Marvel heroes finishing eating the flesh of Galactus as...werewolves! Before Ash can go back into the portal, it closes, leaving Ash at the mercy of the Marvel Werewolves.

In General...

Once again, this series tastefully sneaks in a reference to the movies in form of one of the alternate realities Ash passes up being the decimated London from the original (and non-American) ending of Army of Darkness. Unfortunately, it came in the pages of the worst artwork of the issue, as once again it was done by three different artists. The first two manage to keep the tone consistent with the rest of the Zombies franchise, but this third guy comes along and cartoons it up.

The way Ash tricked the Necronomicon was hilarious, major props to the playing up of the sentience the book was given in one of the AoD minis and then forgotten about since. Also, the werewolf gag was priceless, and done in a typical AoD "Ash ends up screwed in the end" fashion.

What could have been nothing more than a pointless tie-in to cash in on the fan bases of two franchises turns out to be a great effort in total. This mini-series has been better and more well-done than the AoD series has been from Dynamite in a very long time. And, the dark humor fit in well with the Zombie franchise without contributing to the overexposure Marvel is determined to give them with each new project. It will be fun to see if Dynamite keeps this mini canon as the mini kept the events in Dynamite as such, and hopefully they'll take a cue from the book and bring it over to their series to make AoD the series it SHOULD be.

Dynamite, pay attention: you WANT John Layman on your book!

Overall Rating...

4.5 Webs. The first comic of the 21st century to entirely capture the fun and feel of the Evil Dead Trilogy while giving us more Marvel Zombie goodness. The only bad part of this issue was the choice of additional artists with styles that contrasted the dominating ones.

Footnote...

Cover Parody:

Wolverine vol. 1 #1