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Review Brew: Army of Darkness/Xena: Warrior Princess #1

“Forever…and a Day” Issue 1

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Elliot Fernandez
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Reilly Brown
Dynamite Entertainment

I got my hopes up for some Ash-kicking scenes in the first issue, but what we got was Gabrielle at “death’s door,” Xena summoning Ash and forgetting who he was after the fact with Gabrielle left to mediate in a weakened condition, and Ash hitting on an intern at S-Mart when he got ripped back to Xena’s time. (Okay, so I can totally see that last one and in my head Bruce Campbell does it well!) I expected so much more and I was really disappointed.

This book was a quick read. No, really. It took all of fifteen minutes and was over before I knew it. I felt that there were things that were left out that not even my imagination could fill in because there was no base for me to use. What I had been really hoping for is a “When we last met Ash and Xena…” in the beginning for those of us that haven’t read those comics. But I’ve seen the movie and the show, respectively, and I had no idea that there were comics! I really wanted to love this book like I loved the screen versions.

The art was great and the cover is what made me expect some undead Ash-kicking shenanigans in this issue. Mr. Brown did a great job on the cover, capturing the essence of both characters in full battle mode. Mr. Fernandez, likewise, did a stellar job of capturing what we love about the characters of Ash and Xena. For Xena we get the compassion and gentleness that contradicts her warrior nature. For Ash, well, he’s Ash…the overconfident, arrogant and charming man that he is. Both of these characters come to life with the line from a pencil and swipe from a brush tip marker.

However, the story felt really rushed, hence the “things that were left out” feeling. I think the story had more potential and cramming a lot into 22 pages is tough. I think the plot would have worked better in a graphic novel rather than a monthly title. One hundred and twenty-four pages (and 2 volumes) to tell “Forever…and a Day” seems like it would have been a better plan than 6 issues of 22 pages. (One of my favorite line from the AOD movie is “Good Ash, Bad Ash, I’m the guy with the gun.” I was looking for that attitude reflected in the story and it just wasn’t there in this issue.)

If you’re a fan of either franchise, check out the comic and make your own decision about it, but if you’re going to try it because it’s different and new, don’t bother. As for me, I give this title 2 chainsaws out of 5 because the art saved the book.

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