Warning: Spoilers for Army of Darkness Forever #1!
The so-called "happy ending" of Army of Darkness may have actually ended up being the darkest ending within the Evil Dead continuity. As many fans of the franchise know, there are two endings for Army of Darkness: the original twist, which was deemed too dark for theaters, and the theatrical ending where Ash returns to the present with his head held high, having vanquished the undead threat.
Army of Darkness Forever #1 – written by Tony Fleecs, with art by Justin Greenwood – gives the theatrical "happy" ending a twist of its own, turning it into the most horrifying possibility of all.
The series takes a look at the series from three perspectives: the world of the twist ending, the world of the happy ending, and the medieval world Ash left behind at the end of Army of Darkness.
Dynamite's Army Of Darkness Forever #1 Explores All Possibilities
Army of Darkness Forever #1 goes beyond the final moments of the 1992 film's theatrical ending to deliver an unexpected twist, setting up an exciting story for the series moving forward. The comic revisits the movie's conclusion, with Ash having returned to his present time. He recounts his adventures to his S-mart co-workers, particularly a female colleague, fends off a runaway Deadite, then urges his colleague to "hail to the king, baby" before embracing his coworker for a kiss. Where the movie cuts to credits, Forever #1 reveals to readers that this closing moment of levity hides a sinister truth.
Hitching a ride with his charmed coworker, Ash makes a sleazy innuendo, which the woman laughs off, saying, "Oh, you're bad, Ash!" In a stunning final panel, Army of Darkness Forever #1 reveals that she could not be more right – it is in fact Bad Ash, from Army of Darkness that returned to the early 1990s, in the guise of the heroic Ash. Exactly how is left to future issues to explain, but this revelation seems to suggest that the good Ash was the one who traveled to the dystopian future of 2093 in the film's original ending, setting up an exciting, era-spanning story moving forward.
Bad Ash Is Loose In The 1990s
At the same time, it turns the theatrical "happy" ending of Army of Darkness into one of the franchise's bleakest moments. The happy ending gave audiences the impression that the hero saves the day, gets the girl, and rides off into the sunset. This new twist suggests an even darker world than the original ending implied. Assuming Good Ash is stranded in a future overrun by the dead, he will have to find some way to get back to his own time, before Bad Ash kicks off the very apocalypse plaguing the future. Further, Army of Darkness Forever #1 establishes that the medieval era both version of Ash left behind is still in peril.
As a sequel series to the iconic Evil Dead film series, Army of Darkness Forever #1 has set itself up as an ambitious, sprawling continuation, serving up several exciting threads, which readers will be excited to see woven together over the next several issues. The decision to replace the original ending to Army of Darkness, substituting its bleak cliffhanger for a cathartic, satisfying conclusion, has always seemed to many fans to be at odds with the franchise's ethos. Dynamite Entertainment's new comic book sequel is keenly aware of that, and has set up a storyline that is set to be pure Evil Dead start to finish.
Army of Darkness Forever #1 is available now from Dynamite Entertainment!