Thursday, 5 November 2015

Vampirella/Army Of Darkness #4 - Dynamite Entertainment

Dishearteningly, if writer Mark Rahner genuinely didn’t want the character of Ashley J. Williams to appear “too cartoony” within this “Dynamite Entertainment” mini-series, then his script to Issue Four of “Vampirella/Army Of Darkness” is way off target. For whilst the comic’s basic premise is seemingly serious enough, with the two titular anti-heroes needing “to stop a bunch of dumbass monk brethren from [inadvertently] unleashing” a battalion of Deadites upon the Medieval world, the veteran journalist’s handling of the zombie-killer throughout the story can at best be described as a tragic ‘tongue in cheek’ parody of the smart-mouthed protagonist appealingly portrayed upon the silver screen by actor Bruce Campbell.

Indeed, despite utilising such readily identifiable visual clues such as his metal gauntlet, chainsaw and “Boomstick”, the Seattle-based podcaster’s Ash is almost unrecognisable as the “exorcist of the Evil Dead [movie] franchise”, and it is no surprise that Vampirella has little more than contempt for the idiotic womaniser. In fact it would arguably make more sense if the “uptight vampire chick” decided that Lord Arthur’s battle against the Kandarian Demons would actually go better without the “Chosen One” messing everything up; “Protecting that idiot would be a full-time job.”

Sadly however, Rahner’s version of the “twenty-first century vampire supermodel” is not all that much more agreeable either and appears to have little in common with the comic book super-heroine first created by Forrest J Ackerman and Trina Robbins in 1969. Certainly it’s hard to associate the former “horror-story hostess” to the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s giant-sized winged demoness, who feverishly bites the heads off of her Deadite prey before consuming them… And just why, having been brought into this “mini-adventure” directly as a result of Ash’s buffoonery and mispronunciation of the Necronomicon’s “Klaato verata nicto” does Vampirella ultimately decide that her companion isn’t actually “so bad..”?

Fortunately Jett Morales’ pencilling for this particular twenty-page periodical is a marginal improvement on the “emerging” new artist’s previous, rather disappointing work for the title. Indeed some of his panels depicting the “Boomstick” making merry with the heads of several possessed monks are extremely well-drawn, as is the Philippino’s excellent single-splash drawing of Ash and Vampirella taking the battle to the Deadite Angels in the sky.
The regular cover art of "VAMPIRELLA/ARMY OF DARKNESS" No. 4 by Tim Seeley 


  1. Overall, I agree with your assessment, Simon, but I still hated this series with a passion. I love Vampirella more than any other fictional character and to see her so badly depicted in words and art left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Ash, however, fares worst and is not the character I thought I knew and loved. All in all, a sorry, pathetic ending to a series that should have been so much better. Worst Vampirella story ever? Without a doubt!

    1. This was indeed a dire mini-series from start to finish Bryan, with the only good thing coming out of it being that I managed to get hold of one of Jett Morales' original pages - and very nicely drawn it is too, so clearly something has gone badly wrong afterwards as the comic book's art isn't too pleasant upon the eye. I bet you're really glad you recommended this one to me ;-)