Most horror fans are intimately familiar with Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series, and those that aren’t soon will be with the upcoming Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV series. Evil Dead is about to become huge again, and that’s great news for fans of Bruce Campbell, the Deadites and horror fans everywhere.
Over the years, Evil Dead and its two sequels have been adapted and expanded into other mediums. There have been video games, comic book series, and even a musical. While some of these were straight adaptations of the source material, the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most are the ones that have contributed to the lore and added to the universe Raimi and company created back in 1981 (1978 if you count Within the Woods).
Enter a brand new comic series from Space Goat Productions—Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead by Dawn. Written by Frank Hannah with art by Barnaby Bagenda, Oscar Bazaldua and Chris Summers, the series picks up right at the end of Evil Dead 2. The twist however, is that the focus isn’t on Ash–at least not yet. Instead, Beyond Dead by Dawn puts Annie Knowby in the spotlight.
Annie is the daughter archeologist of Raymond Knowby, the poor soul who brought the Necronomicon (which they refer in the comic as the Ex-Mortis) to that little cabin in the woods. In Evil Dead 2, Annie had found the missing pages of the book and brought them to the cabin in the hopes of translating them with her father. Things don’t go well, but Annie does manage to help Ash close the portal of the Deadites, even as she is killed by the Kandarian dagger wielded by Ash’s severed hand.
So how the heck does the comic explain how Annie survives? Simple–she didn’t. Annie is not only dead, but Beyond Dead by Dawn sees her being sucked into the bowels of hell, where a legion of demons are waiting to harvest her soul. Armed with the same dagger that killed her and the Book of the Dead itself, Annie has to find a way to escape.
It’s actually a fantastic set up, and I was really impressed with Hannah’s take on continuing the Evil Dead 2 story. I like the idea of Annie becoming the main character, as there wasn’t a lot of depth to her in Evil Dead 2 (although I thought actress Sarah Berry did a nice job in her first film role).
In issue one of the comic, you get a quick recap of Evil Dead 2, and the artists do a great job of capturing some of the more iconic moments of the film. The action picks up directly after the events of the film, and Annie doesn’t have much time to wallow in her situation, as she immediately set upon by the denizens of Hell.
The action moves briskly, as Annie begins to figure out what’s going on and devise a plan to escape. By the end of the issue, a familiar face is back in the picture, but with a nice twist.
I really dug the first installment of Evil Dead: Beyond Dead by Dawn. The creative team really captured the tone of that movie, and the series overall. And the story is adding to the Evil Dead universe in an interesting way. I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of this series. I know Space Goat Productions has more plans for Evil Dead comics as well, including a series based on the Book of the Dead itself, which will be arriving in August. I’ll be checking that out as well.
Oh, and before I go, let’s have a look at that sweet, sweet trailer for Ash Vs. Evil Dead, shall we?
Ugh, it’s so good I can’t stand it. Halloween can’t get here fast enough.