Comics Reviews

1979 Sends Ash Williams Straight into The Warriors

Army of Darkness: 1979 has just sent Ash Williams hurtling into a New York City ripped straight out of classic street gang movie The Warriors,

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Army of Darkness: 1979, available now from Dynamite Comics.

Fans of the Evil Dead franchise know all too well how much it loves to put a ridiculous, action-packed spin on the gruesome and gory horror it has to offer. This might be best exemplified by entries such as Evil Dead II, but the comics have pushed things even further in the pages of Army of Darkness: 1979. The terror might be all too familiar for Ash Williams, but the setting is unlike anything he has ever seen, unless he got around to watching The Warriors, that is.

Army of Darkness: 1979 #1 by Rodney Barnes, Tom Garcia, Dinei Ribero and Troy Peteri opens in the South Bronx on a scene that is about as far from the titular series as it could possibly get. Instead of any supernatural horrors, the city is being threatened by a sprawling gang war. New York City in the ’70s certainly wasn’t any stranger to that notion, but never quite in the manner it’s facing in the pages of Army of Darkness. In fact, the homage that this series is paying becomes just as apparent as the fact that this is going to be nothing like what the Evil Dead franchise has ever tackled before. Rather than being decked out in any specific colors or patterns, the gangs threatening the South Bronx are unified by more cartoonish looks ranging from vaguely undead to literal clowns. And, if that wasn’t enough to cement where this is all headed, the opening ceremony of a meeting between the gangs absolutely confirms the story’s trajectory, putting it on a collision course with The Warriors.

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A cult classic action thriller, 1979’s The Warriors was written and directed by Walter Hill and based on a novel of the same name by Sol Yurick. Following the exploits of one of many colorful, fictional gangs, the events of The Warriors are kicked off during a gang summit much like the one seen in Army of Darkness: 1979. These gatherings are so similar that the comic even cribs the film’s famous “Can you dig it?” line. While The Warriors‘ gang summit ended in a shootout, that of Army of Darkness: 1979 takes a much darker turn when a new gang by the name of the Warlocks show up to crash the party. They might not look like much, but the Necronomicon they are toting around implies that they are a whole lot deadlier than they appear, and their flesh melting powers only confirm that.

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The Evil Dead series has long been one of the most self-aware in the entire horror genre, especially in recent years with entries such as television’s Ash vs Evil Dead. That being the case, it isn’t too surprising that the franchise would pay homage to another genre-film classic. Whether or not Army of Darkness: 1979 continues to call back to iconic moments from The Warriors is yet to be seen, though there might not be many chances to do so with how quickly the series is racking up its body count.

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