When last we left our heroes, there was time travel, cross dressing on the cover and illegitimate slash-fic bred children from the future. But truth be told I don’t remember much of it, it was almost two years ago after all. Thankfully though, neither do most of they in………………………………….
An army of deadites have been summoned and only one woman can stand against them, but it seems even Xena, her chakram and her awesome battle cry may not be enough and so she turns to the book of the dead to summon the hero of time. No not Link but Ash Williams, S-mart employee and lovable douche. That’s when things start to go slightly wrong and for once it’s not his fault. Well not entirely.
Seems he’s not the only who has trouble reading from the Necronomicon. See they manage to snag the right blow hard they just get him a little earlier than they expected dragging him away from a make out session in the store room via a hole in space and time to a point before they needed him. Before the roving deadite army and in fact to a point before Xena even knows him, though Gabi does; for some reason. We can say this plot dictated amnesia is a result of time travel gone wrong, and there sure will be a lot of that in this series, but truth be told I reckon it’s an excuse to give the “series” a clean slate. We know they’ve met before but the how and why ain’t all that important. All that is important is that Ash is gonna keep trying until he gets it right, trying and trying and trying. From Xena on a pirate ship to Xena in a crib Ash is gonna march up and down this god forsaken time line until someone gives him some answers or at least some sugar and it doesn’t matter how long it takes he’s got all the time in the world. Heck you could say he’s got, ‘Forever and a day‘.
This whole clean slate, time travel gimmick can be seen as the series strength and also it’s weakness.Each issue sees Ash snatched from his own time and thrown to a different era in the past, in theory, to gather clues. The thing is the book isn’t quite so forth coming on what those clues may be. How Ash seeing Xena soiling her diaper will pay off is left something of a mystery so is visiting one off episodes from season two where everyone got to play around in the post war, pulp era of action and adventure rather than the sword and sandal era we’re used to. The thing is this actually gives us a slightly better take on Ash than we usually see in these crossover titles. Sure he’s been dialled all the way up to eleven again but it’s an Ash loyal to his friends and able to turn down Lucy Lawless in a pirate outfit due to that.
You might even argue the same for Xena herself as we get a glimpse of a series that hasn’t held onto its cult status as well as the Evil Dead movies. I mean you can argue it but you’d be wrong. Once again there is a reason Army of Darkness claims top billing.
I won’t go too much into the ending but it delivers on arse kicking and not so much on the plot so if you’re not sticking around for the art, characters or “witty” dialogue then you probably want to bail out fairly early on. It’s a good book and worth checking out for fans of the franchise’s but I’m still holding out for that straight up Evil Dead, Xena cross over the series hasn’t quite given us yet. The flashbacks and nods in this series will either be cute reminders of by gone times or annoying padding and I’m doubtful there will be many who see it as other wise. Next time round it would be nice to just get Ash and Xena teaming up to beat un-dead butt and trade one liners. You might struggle to make that last six issues but it would be something we haven’t seen yet. Heck just give us the reincarnated spirits again hence an excuse to have Xena answer Ash’s booty call for once. That’s a free idea btw’s ‘Dynamite’.