Thursday, August 25, 2011

Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #2

reviewed by Simon Breeze

Last month I reviewed Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #1 (find it here) and if you read my the review you may recall that as much as I liked it, I felt that it could have been better. What was a good and solid comic in my mind, should have blown the roof off of the house!

Now here we are one month later and issue #2 just delivered and read, has my opinion changed?

This issue as I assumed (and could it have been any other way?) saw the introduction of Ash from the popular Evil Dead films and the Army of Darkness comic title. I have always been a huge fan of Ash, ever since I watched a copy of Evil Dead as a nipper - me and my friend Marc 'borrowed' the VHS from his older brother's horror film collection one school summer holiday.

This meant that not only was my tiny little mind of the time permanently warped, yet more relevantly, I was really looking forward to the appearance of his character in this issue.

Avoiding spoilers, here is a real quick summary of the story for issue #2 that does it no justice at all:

We are introduced to Ash in his ho-hum everyday life when something weird starts to happen to him and the people around him, and he figures out it is related to the Book of the Dead. Now flash back to Ash's history with the Book of the Dead and then a slight nudge in his present life to get him on track to meet up with the Danger Girls. This is followed by further progression of the last issues story to be concluded by all of the Danger Girls being introduced and moving their story towards them meeting Ash ... to be continued!

This comic is one of two halves. The introduction of Ash in the first half, and the progression of the story that started in issue one in the second. So-much-so that even the page count is practically split right down the middle! Yep, you read the Ash part, there is an advert, then you jump right in to the Danger Girl part. Does this matter? Not really! I just found it interesting! What matters is that it worked.

I think one of the main things that stood out for me in this issue was that it doesn't matter what degree of knowledge or history you have with either of these franchises (Army of Darkness or Danger Girl). You could pick up this comic and have a really good read and an enjoyable adventure. By the end of this second issue, you know about all the main characters, where they come from and for the most part where they are going and why they are on this trip together.

Issue #2, as with issue #1, has brilliant writing and art. However, unlike issue #1 there is the payoff for the fans of both Danger Girl and Ash alike. Now I might just be reading into things, or much like Ash himself in this issue and hallucinating, but the issue appears to be packed with lots of subtile hat tips to the Evil Dead films and Danger Girl comics in both the dialogue, narration and the artwork that the fans of either or both with a keen eye will love! If you have never read a Danger Girl comic or don't know anything about Ash (though I would question why to both!), you have nothing to worry about. The 'hat tips' are done in such a way that you wont notice and therefore will not spoil your reading enjoyment at all.

Another thing that this second issue has done, and it has done it well, is to bring the 'cheesy' humour of both Danger Girl and Evil Dead to the story, something that I felt was very much lacking in the first issue. The humour and cheesyness is something I believe that in the past has underpinned the characters stories in previous titles and incarnations. Without the cheese and humour Danger Girls and Ash don't work. One of the key things that drew me to this title in the first place was the thought of Ash and his macho runaway mouth working with three smoking-hot and strong minded girls! To me it is the perfect recipe for many clever comedy moments, and it would have been a shame to have missed out on them.

All this said, the best bit for me came towards the end (you have to picture me bouncing around like Tigger as I type this) as Sydney, my favourite Danger Girl, put in a proper appearance in this issue. Not only that! She is introduced in such a way that it sets up her character brilliantly to have her play a very interesting role in the next part of the story. (I had a fear, very much supported by the first issue, that the focus would be on, and remain on, Abby Chase to the exclusion of the other Danger Girls). I was (and still am!) almost at the point of bursting with anticipation for the next issue that was reached the very second I finished the last page of issue #2! If I could 'speed up time or alter the harvest' to get issue #3 here in my hands now, I would do it!

If you had any doubts about this comic after reading issue #1, I would now like to take this opportunity to dance about saying, 'I told YOU so!' This comic has met the potential in this second issue that I assumed (be it with crossed fingers) it could, and I am itching to see how it plays out in issue #3 and beyond.

A very well deserved five out of five chainsaws!

Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #2
Written by Andy Hartnell, art by Chris Bolson, colours by Adriano Lucas, letters by Marshall Dillon
Covers by J. Scott Campbell, Paul Renaud and Nick Bradshaw
Published by Dynamite Entertainment & IDW

Many thanks to Simon for another enjoyable review - remember you can read a new review from Simon here at Escape from Tomorrow each week and pop over to his own blog to enjoy more of his writing and artwork.