This week’s main review is ARMY OF DARKNESS FOREVER #1, celebrating three decades of Army of DarknessPlus, the Wednesday Comics Team has its usual rundown of the new #1s, finales and other notable issues from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!

Army of Darkness ForeverArmy of Darkness Forever #1

Writing: Tony Fleecs
Illustrated: Justin Greenwood
Color: Brad Simpson
Lettering: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment & MGM

Review by Michael Kurt

Army of Darkness Forever #1 celebrates nearly three decades of Army of Darkness. Ash, through his many adventures in movies, tv shows, and comics, has had a witty reputation for being the right blend of ridiculous fun and sacrificial hero. The new series Army of Darkness Forever, written by Tony Fleecs and illustrated by Justin Greenwood, starts as a legendary banger.

Ash, who we catch up with directly after the events of the Army of Darkness film (1992, Directed by Sam Raimi, written by Sam and Ivan Raimi), is deep in many historical times. The comic gives you a 3-page catch up to where the story left off, and then we jump into the action. So here’s a preview: Sam, having successfully slept his way out of time, has ended up in 2093 (instead of 1993). But in the process has left behind a lot of loose threads. In Army of Darkness Forever, after getting caught up with Ash, we jump back to the ancient past where Sheila has taken on the role that Sam left behind. Armed with some of his tools, and a lot of knowledge about the evil dead, Sheila makes a rather shocking, yet unsurprising, discovery in the forest outside the castle.

Boom! Jump to 1993. Ash is working at a department store. How? I thought he was in 2093. Well, this series sets out to tell you all about it.

Army of Darkness, along with all of the other attached properties (Evil Dead, Ash vs. Evil Dead), has always had a distinct voice—largely thanks to Bruce Campbell’s larger-than-life performance—and this is especially present (and fitting) in the pages of Army of Darkness forever. The look-to-camera moments that were so iconic in the movies translate one-to-one in comics. As an example, in 1993, Ash is working in the department store, and (big surprise) an evil dead thing comes to find him. But the way he transforms from buttoned-up Ash at the department store to kick-some-ass Ash between the panels, and is then presented with two big American flags behind him, is incredible. Army of Darkness Forever is just fun.

Verdict: BUY

Nights #1

Writer: Wyatt Kennedy
Artist: Luigi Formisano
Colorist: Francesco Segala
Color Assistance: Gloria Martinelli
Letterer: Maria Letizia Mirabella
Publisher: Image Comics

Review by Clyde Hall

This new ongoing urban gothic series from Image Comics boasts a creativity-fueled Porsche Cayman-class narrative. The solicit copy lays out tumultuous changes of young protagonist Vince’s life, as well as the otherworldly reality he lives in, with details that could fill two normal premiere issues. And those only cover 1/3 of the page count in issue #1. 

You can feel the accelerated pulse of Vince as he arrives in life in Santo Pedro, Florida. It’s a metropolis alive with a pulse all its own. Those beats include the living arrangements of Vince’s Uncle Ivory, a household the young man joins following the death of his parents. It’s a found family of video game designers, mercs for hire, ghosts, and one perpetually jobless vampire. 

Wyatt Kennedy has scripted an opening story which fits perfectly into the spoopy autumn season niche. Yet it offers much more for the title as it continues thanks to its authentic urban thrum. The life pace, the attitudes, and an amazing variety of people to encounter, and sometimes avoid, take Vince’s breath away. Vicariously, it claims the reader’s as well. 

But this is no normal city, and it occupies a world much different than our own. Artist Luigi Formisano, colorist Francesco Segala, and the color assistance of Gloria Martinelli keep that world relatable despite the supernatural elements present. The style is as smart and charmingly anarchic as the script. And as Vince’s circle of friends. 

If the tone of Only Murders in the Building is your fit, and if you’d enjoy seeing a Constantine smattering of preternatural elements added, Night #1 will satisfy. It serves up a combo treat: Emotional substance rivaling coveted food truck fare for municipal existence, coupled with paranormal survival skills in the city.

Verdict: BUY

Wednesday Comics Reviews

  • comics to buy for october 11A Haunted Girl #1 (Image Comics/Syzygy Publishing): A Haunted Girl #1 is a powerful comic, a horror story that takes on the lifelong nature of struggling with suicidal ideation and thoughts of self-harm. It takes that topic, and extrapolates into a chilling and engaging supernatural story. This is all before you even get to the end note, where writer Ethan Sacks reveals the first images of this story came to him while in a hospital cafeteria, after his own child had been hospitalized for severe depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, making the book all the more poignant. And now four years later, Naomi Sacks is co-writer here with her father. But even before getting to that note, the narrative honesty in this book is stark and evident. A Haunted Girl #1 is a clear, restrained read, powered by character moments and chilling imagery from artist Marco Lorenzana and colorist Andrea Mossa, with letters by Jaime Martinez. What it all adds up to is my favorite type of horror, a story that finds its way into the genre by deep examination of the things that test us most in life. —Zack Quaintance  
  • Archie Horror: Chilling Adventures Presents…Welcome to Riverdale #1 (Archie Comics): While Archie Horror is (fortunately!) a year-round affair, you know the line has to pull out all the stops for the October issues. This week that means Archie Horror: Chilling Adventures Presents… Welcome to Riverdale #1 by Amy Chase, Liana Kangas, Ellie Wright and Jack Morelli. While I quite enjoy the Archie Comics anthologies, it was nice to get a full one-shot devoted to this story, giving it more time to unspool. This issue did a good job of incorporating characters from across the Archie-verse, from the famous to the obscure – I always find it rewarding to have The Archie Encyclopedia close at hand while I’m reading. And it was neat to see newer character Amber Nightstone play a part. The colors are excellent throughout (and especially arresting during a dream sequence), while Morelli’s lettering is always top-tier. Finally, I especially liked the colors and art on the issue’s Marguerite Sauvage variant cover. Next week Archie Horror’s Month of Mayhem continues with Fear the Funhouse: Toybox of Terror, an intriguing and unusual concept for a horror anthology. —Avery Kaplan
  • Destiny Gate #1 (Image Comics): ALL ABOARD! Or not. When a no-eyed shade of businessman takes the local steamer home, because there’s nowhere to go but home, Mitchell Slate is confronted with a mummy, demons, and the high concept you’re here for. But boarding a train is less fun than the train ride, and doubly so here. Writer Ryan Cady carries us to a sullen martyr headspace with little hope to crawl out. The few NPCs that dot Destiny Gate’s brisk pace are all warning signs that our protag ignores. Difficult then, for the audience, to ignore the lack of depth to the proceedings. Christian DiBari scratches ink with enough Daniel Warren Johnson styled speedlines that the characters feel altogether too big and the world too small. DiBari’s layouts feel serviceable without feeling inspired. For a dark book, how deep the key values really dictates the colorist’s approach, I’ve found, so with such pure black ink heightened to its absolute form rendering details such as hatching and fabric texture blow out when the pages are primed for the colorist. Simon Gough builds a decent portfolio here with murky burgundy, grimy greys, and a dark blue that reddens the closer Slate gets to danger. Danger, in the form of a mummy, has some immaculately ghoulish word balloons that seep from its bandages thanks to letterer Troy Peteri. Really can’t wait to see more iterations of Peteri’s otherworldly balloon style even if I’m not a fan of vertically stacking disconnected balloons in-panel. For some, there’s a fascinating mix of potential psychological noir present. For others, the spiralling trajectory of Slate’s ride is enough. For me? This train’s not for me, though I might catch the next one. —Beau Q.
  • Midlife (Or How To Be A Hero At Fifty) #1 (Image Comics): Midlife (Or How to Hero at Fifty!) #1 is an origin story of sorts and a rather interesting one. With an unfulfilling job, a divorce, and an uneasy relationship with his son, Ruben is a man who feels like he’s just pushing that boulder. Ruben is a firefighter, more specifically, he works in the L.A. Fire Department’s Office of Professional Standards because he’s afraid of fire. It must be hard to imagine Sisyphus happy. Writer Brian Buccellato through Ruben communicates what we have come to understand about getting older. There comes dissatisfaction and Ruben is a great vehicle for that, but things get truly interesting as his life shifts in major ways with new revelations with his romantic partner Annie and about himself. Artist Stefano Simeone brings subtleties to the wide range of expressiveness on display from the characters, especially with Ruben. The exaggerated expressions and body language liven up the interactions and keep the eye moving across the panels. There’s a dream-sequence that really encapsulates the strength of Simeone’s visual storytelling, heightened by the deft lettering of Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou whose balloons wave and bend to complement the way that the dream is depicted and fluid. The lettering exists outside of the balloons and integrates itself into the dream, fading, echoing the balloons and it WORKS. It’s a fantastic moment amidst other showcases of Otsmane-Elhaou’s mastery and sense of play in the issue’s lettering contributing to a visually and narratively compelling first issue. —Khalid Johnson
  • Operation Sunshine #1 (Dark Horse Comics): David Rubin is one of my favorite comics artists. An incredible storyteller with an aesthetic that is absolutely perfect for the medium — flexible enough to go from goofy to heartfelt in the course of a couple panels — his work has never looked better than it does in Operation Sunshine #1, which is colored by K.J. Diaz (rapidly becoming a top-tier colorist, in my opinion) and lettered by Ferran Delgado. And the story gives these gifted creators plenty to work with. It’s vampires — kind of a tired subject as horror tropes go — but done in an urban fantasy style blended with bureaucracy, which layers on some novel interest. Either way, the artwork in this comic is worth the price of admission alone. It’s just a totally gorgeous book. —Zack Quaintance
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Halloween Special (IDW Publishing): Crime never takes a holiday, much to the chagrin Sonic the Hedgehog, his pal Tails, and the Chaotix Detective Agency as they try to make it out in time for some trick-or-treating in the Sonic the Hedgehog: Halloween Special. Writer Mark Bouchard effortlessly infuses the intrigue of a small-town mystery with the action the Sonic franchise is known for, all while setting it around the Halloween season for a candy-focused caper. The art team of Jack Lawrence on pencils, inks from Matt Froese, and colors by Gigi Dutreix bring the cast of characters to life, costumes and all, in some of the best of the Sonic comics, and that’s not just because Tails is dressed as a cowboy. Creative lettering Shawn Lee brings it all together to set the creepy mood of the season, complete with the cries of screaming children to let readers know how serious this mystery is! This issue is another among the many Sonic one-shots to show the versatility of the creative team and characters to tell fun and impactful stories. —Bryan Reheil

The Prog Report

  • 2000 AD Prog 2353 (Rebellion Publishing): For the second week in a row, artist P.J. Holden and colorist Peter Doherty open the prog with a stunning splash panel. Whereas last week it was a star-filled sky, this week it’s an intricate and crowded rendering of the skyline in Moscow. And from that stunning opener, the art remains as good throughout. Now on its third part, Poison (written by Rob Williams with letters by Simon Bowland) has just been excellent, and definitely something to look forward to week-to-week. As always, you can nab a copy of this week’s Prog here. —Zack Quaintance

Read more entries in the Wednesday Comics reviews series!