A Writer's Commentary: Nancy Collins talks the grand finale of her tale: Army of Darkness: Furious Road #6, on sale now from Dynamite. Cover by Gabriel Hardman, interiors by Kewber Baal.
It has been a long, weird trip, my friends, but all things come to an end, and it is now time for me to drive off into the sunset, shiny and chrome. However, before I go, I have a few words to say about the final issue of Army of Darkness: Furious Road.
My take on Vlad/Dracula owes a great debt to, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest horror comics ever published, if not the greatest: Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan's Tomb of Dracula. I see Dracula as proud, arrogant, and boastful but also supremely capable of backing it up as both a monster and a warrior. As a former ruler of mortal men and the king of the vampires, he clearly views most other beings as being beneath him, including other undead. His relationship with the Brides, as seen here, is more like that of a pimp or cult leader than that of a husband. He does not 'love' them so much as own and control them, and he treats them as his chattel, to be disposed of at his whim. The anger Vlad shows when The General slays his harem is born of wounded pride, not emotional loss. Page 2
The romantic undercurrent between Michael (aka Frankenstein's Monster) and Eva (aka The Daughter of Dracula) finally comes to the surface. There was already a framework for a love story between these characters, but it never adequately fleshed out in earlier outings. I guess when you are practically immortal, you can take your own sweet time finally telling the object of your affections how you feel about them. Page 3
This scene between Eva and Brother Jianjun—who represent the religious sensibilities of the Western and Eastern worlds — best sums up my personal philosophy, which can best be summed up as "don't sweat the small stuff" and "a rose by any other name". When you are up against a wall, face-to-face with genuine evil, a good person is a good person, regardless of what they call themselves or who/what they worship. Pages 4-11
Most of this issue is balls-to-the wall action, with Ash, Dracula, and Michael proving to be a pretty lethal combo. Ash is in his element, shouting orders to the Shaolin monks as they battle against the Deadite forces. Michael uses his brute strength to its best ends, while Dracula proves that he is, indeed, the Greatest Monster in the World. For those of you with tender sensibilities, I warn you that this final battle royale is even gorier than the blood bath in front of the cathedral in issue #4. Pages 12-16
In this confrontation between Ash and the General, I play up the fact The General is his mirror twin by having him replace his own missing hand with his saw-toothed sword, in imitation of Ash's chainsaw hand.
It is said that there is no place in modern horror for such old school monsters as Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula, that they are just not scary to today's audiences. My reply is that there is no room for crappy versions of the Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula. These archetypes speak to us on a primal level, and have managed to be resurrected and re-imagined in a staggering variety of forms for 198 and 119 years, respectively. Moreover, Dracula still manages to find his way onto the "Greatest Villains in the World" lists, even in this day and age.
Well, Army of Darkness: Furious Road has been a great little joy ride—I used the occasion to pay tribute to the drive-in culture of the 1960s and the grindhouse cinema of the 1970s-1980s that helped make me the warped individual that I am today. I hope you guys enjoyed the show and, in the words of the late, great Lux Interior: Stay Sick, y'all!