Campy Horror At 20,000 Feet – Army Of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #3
by Brendan M. Allen
Having just scored a victory against the nefarious Bubba Ho-Tep, our heroes Ash and 70’s-era Elvis take to the skies in the King’s private jet, escorting the powerfully destructive Necronomicon Ho-Tep. In order to keep it out of the wrong hands, they must provide the Egyptian artifact safe passage back to Elvis’ secure fortress in Graceland. But even at 20,000 feet, evil lurks closer than they realize…as do giant scarabs! It’s the penultimate chapter of the year’s most groovy crossover event!
Having made nice (again), Elvis and Ash open up Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #3 aboard The King’s private jet, telling stories and getting blasted. Mr. Presley has begun to notice there’s something overly familiar about Ashley, right after he regales the “time-travelin’ buck-a-roo” with the story of Bubba Nosferatu and the Curse of the She-Vampires (aka Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Bloodsuckers). The mummy turns up. Another mummy turns up. The chins crack some undead heads.
Scott Duvall uses this chapter to call back not only to the source films, but also to the Bubba Ho-Tep prequel film that was never made. There are a ton of slick references for Bruce Campbell fans in this installment, but not so many that it slows down the explosive pace. The first two chapters taken together felt a little like an extended series opener. This is the pop I was waiting for.
Vincenzo Federici and Michele Monte carry that campy horror aesthetic into a new setting, with a whole chapter taking place on The King’s private jet. The confined spaces add a level of claustrophobic tension, without muddying up the dizzying action sequences. Bruce Campbell’s likeness is slightly caricatured, but instantly recognizable as both lead characters. The monsters’ hideous countenance is amplified through the psychotropic drug-enhanced perception of the El Jefe and The Chief.
Three chapters in, I’m still thoroughly enjoying this mashup. Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep continues to take the source material seriously enough to bring a compelling story, without spoiling any of the dark humor or dry charm of either.
Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #3, Dynamite Comics, released 10 April 2019. Written by Scott Duvall, art by Vincenzo Federici, letters by Taylor Esposito, covers by Diego Galindo, Tom Mandrake & Sian Mandrake, and Robert Hack.