Pulp #630

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Pulp #630

Hold onto your pants, folks – this week Pulp’s going back to its roots! Waaay, way back when this column began, there was originally a horror/pulp fiction theme interwoven with the comic-y goodness, and there was another guy hanging around (Hi Cam!). Nowadays, while my adventures/ramblings are generally limited to all things comics, there is the occasional toe dipped into the murky waters of pulp-dom – not too far, we’re still about comics here thanks very much – and this week’s column is one such journey.

This week, we’re delving into the realm of zombies, chainsaws and snappy one-liners: the world of Evil Dead. Ash is back, baby! I managed to get my mitts on a copy of Army of Darkness: Ash in Space. With a title like that, you just know you’re in for some fun! Picking up where the Army of Darkness film left off (a true classic, by the way), Ash’s battle against a Deadite-worshipping cultist sees him catapulted through time once again. Following the trail of the Necronomicon – the demonic tome that summons the Deadite hordes – onto a space shuttle, Ash is flung into the Earth’s atmosphere to battle the undead monsters on the International Space Station. Yes, that is the actual plot, and yes, it’s as good as it sounds.

The Evil Dead series has never been one to take itself seriously – especially Army of Darkness, what with its bagpipe-playing skeletons – and Ash in Space follows that trend. Ash in Space brings back memories of Jason X (basically Jason Voorhees in space), with a typically Evil Dead plotline: Deadites are around, messing things up, and Ash has to stop them. It’s not complicated, and works really well as a result. Writer Cullen Bunn (Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe) plays up the hammy nature of the Evil Dead universe with aplomb, and the book fits right in with the mythos. Ash in Space certainly isn’t a complex affair, but it’s not meant to be; it’s a parody/action/horror hybrid at its pulpy best.

Ash in Space strikes me as a book that’s been written by a true fan of the genre; you can tell that Bunn had a hell of a lot of fun writing it, and that enthusiasm for the genre is reflected in both the ridiculousness of the plot and the snappy, sarcastic dialogue. Artist Larry Watts (Grimm Fairy Tales presents Robyn Hood) has produced some really great work to back up the writing; it takes a special something to accurately portray the madness of an Evil Dead story, particularly when it involves Ash in a robotic battle suit fighting his Ultron-esque evil robot twin. Yes, you read that right. Take my word for it: it’s awesome. While some of the references to previous instalments may fly over the head of casual readers, it’s not really an issue. Ash in Space is the kind of story that you can pick up on a whim and just have fun with. It’s pure escapism at its best, and isn’t trying to sell a point of view or send a message; like Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it exists purely for the fun of it, and is just a pleasure to read. Don’t expect anything too profound here; just sit back and enjoy the ride!

Written by Alastair McGibbon