Monday, July 6, 2015

Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead By Dawn #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Who's ready for another horror comic review for Just For The Hell of It Mondays?  Well, you all better be because I'm doing one whether you like it or not.  This week we'll be looking at a book that came out of nowhere for me, especially since I've spent the majority of my life loving the film series it's based on and some how heard nothing about this book coming out.  I'm talking about the Evil Dead, but more importantly, my favorite installment to the film series, Evil Dead 2.  Yeah, we've seen Ash continue his adventures against the Deadites in comics for over a decade now, but this book is different in that it's a direct sequel to the events of Evil Dead 2 and the star of the book is Annie Knowby, who was actually the hero of Evil Dead 2 because of her being the one who actually opened the time tunnel and sent the evil back to whence it came at the end of the flick.  Now, I've watched that movie inside and out and I can't wait to see what the writer does here because even though Annie rocked her knowledge of the Book of The Dead, she did in fact die in the movie.  So let's check out this sequel and see if it honors Evil Dead 2 and if it's a competent continuation of the story, from another perspective.  Let's check it out.

Written By: Frank Hannah
Art By: Barnaby Bagenda, Oscar Bazulda, Chris Summers
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 24, 2015
Publisher: Space Goat Publishing

Beyond Groovy

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

I don't know if this is still a thing, but I remember when people first started getting together online on horror message boards and talking about their love of the genre and the one thing that kept coming up over and over again that was a point of conjecture, was that Evil Dead 2 was simply a remake of the first film.  If you are one of those people.........well, you're just wrong.  The first fifteen minutes or so of the flick is simply a recap of the first flick, sans the rest of his friends and once Ash is hit by the "Evil", the film begins it's own story about the second night that Ash had to stay in the cabin.  Okay, so now that we can get beyond that, this story is really interesting to me because for what seems like the first time ever.........remake not included, Ash isn't the hero of the story and we continue where my favorite installment of the film series leaves off, after Ash gets sucked into the time tunnel, making him a wise cracking reluctant hero.  Let's see what Space Goat Publishing has in store for us with Annie Knowby taking the spotlight in this story and how well she fairs as she takes on the forces of hell.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our story begins like I said, right at the end of Evil Dead 2.  Annie has been stabbed in the back with the Kandarian Dagger, by Ash's cut off evil hand and before she dies, Annie recites the rest of the incantation to send the evil back....... and putting Ash on his path to becoming the "Chosen One".  With the evil gone and everything seeming quiet in the woods around the cabin, it looks like all is well in the world, but out of nowhere, the ground opens up around the cabin and it begins falling into a dark void, taking Annie with it.  Eventually, the dark void is replaced with fire and people falling outside the windows screaming and I have to think that this is more of a metaphysical representation of the cabin falling than it actually happening.......  So all of our video games and comic books where we go back to the cabin can still be canon of sort............Yay!

So now that we're in hell, Annie finds herself surrounded by demons, who want to collect her soul obviously and it's weird because throughout this book, the demons keep asking in surprise, "Where's your soul?"  This little gem isn't explored further in this issue, but it's got me interested.  Yeah Annie, Where's Your Soul?   Anyway, Annie goes through hell, being led out of the cabin by what she believes are the cries of her dead parents and she ends up fighting off demon after monstrous demon with the Kandarian Dagger........ which we find out actually has a use!  The Kandarian Dagger didn't show up in Army of Darkness, but in the first two films it had a role as a companion piece to the Necronomicon, but unlike the Book of The Dead; it didn't seem to have purpose.  In the original Evil Dead, the Kandarian Dagger was shown to make Deadites spew......milk out of their mouths and other orifices when stabbed, which while watching the film the first time comes off like it might actually kill them, but almost immediately the monsters get back up and continue their need to kill or possess everything around them.  So yeah, no real use and it was even worse in the second Evil Dead because we didn't even get the milk spew, but here it seems like the dagger has finally been given a purpose and Annie realizes that with every demon she skewers with it, it charges up the dagger with mystical energy.

In the end, Annie makes her way back to the cabin and using the charged up Kandarian Dagger and the pages of the Necronomicon that she collected and brought to the cabin in Evil Dead 2, she conjures up a spell of Necromancy that will allow her to create a doppelganger of Ash using the flesh of his now "dead" evil hand.  As the story closes, the spell was a success and now Annie Knowby has a companion to help her escape the bowels of hell and hopefully make her way home......... hopefully this Ash isn't as bumbling as the original............ Yeah, he's going to be bumbling as hell.

That's it for this first issue of Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead By Dawn and I can't tell you how impressed I was with the premise of this story.  By taking Ash out of the equation and putting in another familiar and way more capable character into the role of hero changed the entire dynamic of this familiar world to something that we've never seen before............ Unfortunately though, it seems that the creators lost their nerve somewhere and shoehorned Ash into the story anyway........just like every other Evil Dead story that we've seen.  Even with that disappointing ending though, I love the original take of this story and love that the writer has finally decided to give the Kandarian Dagger a use besides for just looking all creepy next to the Book of The Dead.  The art in this book was great and my only complaint with it is the uninspired look of the demons that comprise hell.  There were a few really scary "demon" monsters down there but the majority were just humdrum humanoid demons that we've seen a million times.  The book certainly did it's job in getting me interested and it makes me angry that this is a bi-monthly series because I want the next installment now.

Bits and Pieces:

You gotta praise this book in taking a different approach to the Evil Dead series and even though it found itself in more familiar territory by the end, it was still an impressive first outing for this series.  It's working with familiar faces and objects in ways that none of us ever expected to see from this franchise and the art was top notch.  Any horror fans or just people that enjoy the Evil Dead Trilogy should definitely get their hands on this book and see Evil Dead in a whole new way.

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