A certain Book of the Dead continues to be a hot commodity in Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Dracula from Space Goat Publishing, written by Scott Peterson with line art by Horacio Domingues. When Ash’s would-be romantic entangle turns out to be “overly fond of boring, ancient gothic novels” it doesn’t take long before the Ex-Mortis is out of Ash’s bag and Dracula’s out of his grave. The infamous vamp is a fan of the text himself and, while there’s a lot of talk about plans, no one seems to actually have one as the struggle to see who will come out with the Book (and their life) begins.
What’s notable about this crossover is it’s not Ash entering Dracula’s world so much as Dracula entering his. That means when a big, red demon shows up it’s Dracula who is out of his element, an arrangement that informs both the issue’s highlights and disappointments. When you’re dealing with three huge egos, victory goes to the individual most willing to recognize shared flaws and wield them accordingly. Ash is more than capable of doing this but seeing Dracula forced to acknowledge that criticisms thrown at the demon also apply to himself is comedy gold. Similarly, getting to see Dracula go from having the upper hand with Ash to being the pitiful one in the demon’s eyes is humbling. Not permanently so (he’s still Dracula) but enough to induce a different response from the monster than fans may be accustomed to.
The down side of including a demon is that Dracula has to share the spotlight. The story totes his name in the title but his entrance into it is far from grand. Ash’s girlfriend never emerges as more than an incidental character so we don’t know whether her raising of him was calculated or improvised. And Ash has two hands, which as my first Evil Dead 2 comic may have completely passed me by hadn’t a hand gag with one of the other characters put the appendage’s return on my radar.
With black borders around all the pages working to mute colorful panels, the issue leaves an impression of sinister darkness that stays an impression. Revenge of Dracula has Ash’s inflated bravado but doesn’t build-up of Dracula enough to meet the hype of having Ash face him.