(Submitted for your New Comic Book Day reading pleasure by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, you Groovy Guy, you!! 😉 xoxo)
“Grab the keys to the Oldsmobile and break out the boomstick ’cause Ash is back! The wisecracking everyman with a chin of steel comes face to face with something worse than Deadite possession: Unemployment.” (Dynamite)
Just as the Ashes 2 Ashes story picked up right where the movie adaptation left off, Shop Till You Drop Dead carries over the ramifications from Ashes 2 Ashes. Specifically Ash is called into his boss’s office, where he is informed that he will have to pay for the damages caused to the S-Mart store in his last battle with the Deadites. He will reimburse the store by forfeiting a paycheck for several years, until the hefty bill is paid off. In a rare occurrence, the consequences of our protagonist’s actions are dealt with and have consequences. Writer James Kuhoric does in a horror book what most superhero books fail, ignore or, are too fearful of doing. Prior to the craziness recommencing, we get a little taste of Ash’s normal work life dynamic. In these areas of the story, there seems to be a nod to the Archie comic books happening. Sheila and Mindy are both vying for Ash’s romantic attentions, while fellow employee’s look on in shock and amazement, curiously wondering how too beautiful women could be attracted to such a scatterbrained, arrogant individual. This absolutely mimics the love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica, and how their peers in Riverdale react to it. The Necronomicon returns in this book, after Ash’s boss, while on vacation, finds it on a resort in Egypt buried in the sand. Firstly, I like the continuity detail to the last story. Remember at the end of last issue, the book was buried in the sands of ancient Egypt. Secondly, the Necronomicon, I’d imagine, is like a mystical STD. No matter how much you treat certain STD’s they don’t go away. Just as, it appears no matter how many times this book is destroyed, it keeps coming back. The crazy action picks up when most customers in the S-Mart are revealed to be Deadites. Here’s where this book has to be careful. The scenes of the Deadite attack on the S-Mart are extremely similar to scenes from the movie adaptation. We have mini Deadite Ashes again, one of his colleagues loses a hand to a Deadite bite. Ash finds a chainsaw, attaches it to his coworkers hand and has him join the fight. It’s as if the writer said; “Well this worked before and everyone liked it, so let’s do it again!” The most intriguing aspect of this fight, is the fact that it takes place in the S-Mart, which provides our hero plenty of foreign convenience store objects to use in his arsenal. Another unique moment of this story is the time travel portion. Instead of going back into the past, Ash is thrown 500 years into the future. The Deadites are still plaguing humanity and the Necronomicon is still this mythologies McGuffin. Although, it is a digital computer program, which makes sense that far into the future. Hell, books are going digital now, imagine what’ll happen 500 years from now. Also, in the future, Ash’s battles with the Deadites have gone down in the annals of history. This ties in nicely with his trip to the past, where he was a part of the prophecy and his battles with Deadites were foretold. In both the past and future, the people Ash meets find it preposterous when he tells him he is that warrior battling the Deadites. That commonality between past and future, along with Ash’s attempts to justify his claims are hilarious. Once Ash gets back to the present, his defeat of the Deadites is rather predictable to be honest. However, the last act is redeemed by the Easter egg at books end, which hints at the arrival of an evil, robotic Deadite Ash from the future to present day Detroit.
While the writer changed for this story, art was still handled by Nick Bradshaw, with an assist by Sanford Greene on the third issue. It seems to me that with every issue Nick Bradshaw tries to top himself with the bloody violence and gore. Seeing a Deadite get shot in the face and back of the head, caused some epic levels of blood spatter and grotesque facial disfigurement. The page where Ash finds the chainsaw stuck in that fake log, and the store display is lit up and he pulls the chainsaw out of the display, had a nod and hint of the Sword in the Stone to it. The overt sexiness with which Mindy and Sheila were drawn was of the charts. It had me wondering when we’ll get an Ash Vs the Evil Dead porn parody. Or has there been one and I somehow missed it? The scene in the cellar of the S-Mart, was the most traditional looking horror locale in the whole book. The coloring gave it an appropriate atmosphere. The Deadite possessed furnace looked pretty badass, but reminded me of that scene in Home Alone. You know the one I’m talking about. The art in issue 3 was even more cartoonish and stylized then Nick Bradshaw, so I’m not too hot on Sanford Greene’s work overall. However, there are two aspects I enjoyed. First was the metallic look of the future. It matched perfectly with a society that was 100% reliant on technology for everything. Secondly, the imagery of Ash fighting with a futuristic computerized Deadite version of himself looked like a mashup of Tron Legacy and Mega Man.
This book wasn’t as good as the Army of Darkness Movie adaptation or Ashes 2 Ashes. It relied too much on sticking to the tropes of the series and felt more like déjà vu then a new story. Having said that, this book was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s so crazy and violent and funny, I’m willing to forgive them resting on their laurels. So long as it doesn’t keep happening over and over. This definitely is still a must read for fans of the series.