What is Xena – Army of Darkness: what again?

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When last we left our heroes Bruce Campbell teamed up with Bruce Campbell; with a moustache to beat up evil tiny Bruce Campbell. Then he built a supermarket and went home. Oh yeah and Xena was there and Gabrielle too, maybe. Anyway, never mind that, for this is……….

Evildeadxenawa1

Anyway don’t worry too much about all this as the comic gives you a brief flashback before it begins though I can’t see there being too many Xena, Army of Darkness fans who will put down their hard earned money on this but don’t already have the previous mini. And don’t tell me you didn’t know about it, they even call it ‘what again’.

Anyway peace has returned to the two realms with Bruce back at S-mart dealing with requests for ‘Fluffernutter’ which does not sound like it should be anywhere near any food or in public but I am to understand is an American foodstuff, which means that it probably shouldn’t be near food or available in public. Historic Bruce with a moustache meanwhile is manager of the historic S-mart Ash managed to invent before he left at the end of the last adventure. Yet there is a third figure watching all of this, a red robe who keeps muttering about a broken circle.

Evildeadxenawa4No, not Xena’s chakram but you didn’t think it was I just going to research that name and not want to include it somehow in this review.

Evildeadxenawa3

Anyway back in the present Ash’s break is interrupted by a Deadite horde storming through aisles calling for him to claim a new boom stick and then ride a shopping cart to safety. Sort of like you do with an office chair and fire extinguisher. From here it is up to Ash to find the old man from the last mini to find out what the heck is going on. Fortunately he left his billing address after his recent shopping excursion so that isn’t too hard. He spills the exposition before drawing Xena, Gabrielle and historic Bruce into the present to help fight the Deadite scourge.

Now the second issue is a bit weird even in the realm of an Army of Darkness, Xena crossover. You see Xena manages to save the necronomicon from zombie hands but in order to get it somewhere safe they end up teleporting it to the local library. They race over to retrieve it but end up getting sucked into it along with half a dozen books leading to one issue where they randomly jump between famous novels. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if that was for some reason the plot of this series, like a somehow ever more tongue in cheek Deadpool Killustrated, but it’s not. It’s just like they wrote three issues and then someone said “no man we wanted a four issue mini-series.” There’s like a final panel that impacts the rest of the story with the reveal of Gabrielle’s son but other than that.

As I say it’s not bad and if you have ever wanted to see Ash Williams dressed up as Dorothy then this is the book for you but it doesn’t really have any connection to anything and just seems to fill time. From there we’re in some post-apocalyptic hell hole where Gabrielle’s son drives around in the Bat-tumbler and refuses to tell anyone who his Dad is. All we know is that it’s one of the three with them logically excluding Gabrielle herself. It serves as the main “comic-relief” between Bruce and Bruce as they argue over which one is the Dad. I won’t spoil it for you but it isn’t worth the wait to find out. Anyone else might have meant more for the Xena series than who they pick and shippers, who are I assume the only ones still caring about this show will probably be disappointed.

Okay I might as well tell you, it’s Ash. We find out at the very, very end that it’s Ash.

How, when or why, we don’t know nor should we care. Not only will this not come back in the t.v show but I don’t think he’s ever mentioned again in comics or even, so far as my lazy google skills could take me, on the internet in any shape or form. This isn’t that surprising given the ending of the story with Solan sent back to a future which probably doesn’t exist anymore but it does seem a waste of what could have been a bone thrown to the shippers instead of being such a waste of ink, it doesn’t even work well as a pay off. I was convinced the twist would be that somehow the kid is Xena’s so that the two issues spent bickering between Bruce and Bruce could pay off with a panel on their open mouths or looks of confusion or something. Instead the comic decides to just end by saying it’s Ash’s btw, forgot to mention that. ‘Surprise’!

I mean maybe it was a double bluff, with you supposed to think that will be the gag, what with him being called Solan. But I think that is giving the writers too much credit. Though having said that it might be a bit weird for Xena to call her son after her last son, but even leaving that potential squick aside it would still have been a better ending.

Evildeadxenawa2

These two points kind of sum up a lot wrong with ‘What again?’ I know the title is supposed to be a wink, wink kind of gag but it really fits which is a shame. Oh sure this one feels much more like a Xena, Evil Dead crossover with her actually getting to do something this time around and pulling ahead of Ash in the heroics stakes on a number of occasions such as when she has to guard the entrance against an unending horde of Deadites with only her charkram and a fry cook and it assumes you have more than a passing familiarity with her back story; dipping into the dark times when she used to loot, rape and pillage without much exposition at all.

Anyway turns out that Ash introducing the S-mart a few hundred decades early has disrupted time and that is the source of all their problems and the evil red robe, it’s Xena, well evil Xena. You know like evil Ash, except it’s Xena.

EvilAsh

And she has an evil Gabrielle for some timey-wimey related reason.

If you’re a huge fan of both these properties then maybe hunt this down in the dollar bin; but if you can’t, don’t worry you’re really not missing much.

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