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[Comic Book Review] Ash Battles Krampus in “Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus”

Good… bad… he’s gonna save the world from Krampus.

There has never been a better time to be a fan of the Evil Dead franchise than right now. On the big screen, we got a kickass, blood-soaked remake of the original classic back in 2013, and for those who wanted Evil Dead 4 rather than a remake, the Starz series “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is damn sure doing the trick. Over in the world of comic books, Ash is getting into all sorts of wacky trouble.

The company Space Goat Publishing has been having so much fun with the Evil Dead 2 license of late; in addition to multi-issue arcs, they’ve also got a one-shot series that pits Ash up against infamous figures from history and literature. The “Evil Dead 2: Revenge” line has thus far seen Ash battle the likes of Dracula, Jack the Ripper, martians, and even Adolf Hitler himself.

Released last week, just in time for the holiday season,“Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus” is the fifth book in Space Goat’s “Revenge” series, and it’s set on Christmas Eve:

As usual Ash is alone with a TV dinner, a bottle of Bourbon, and the Skinimax Channel on cable. This silent night gets unholy when Krampus shows up to take away a neighbor kid! It’s up to Ash to ring his silver bells and maybe end up under the mistletoe with a grateful mom. Ian Edginton returns to Evil Dead 2 with this twisted Christmas tale in Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus! Normally not one to poke his nose into others’ business – and for good reason! – Ash ends up learning there’s more than one way to lose!

The legend of Alpine Christmas demon Krampus has only recently become a hot topic of inspiration for the horror genre, with Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat) bringing to the screen perhaps the be-all, end-all Krampus horror flick, simply titled Krampus, just last year. The basic gist of the legend is that Krampus punishes naughty kids while Santa rewards the nice, and that’s something that just doesn’t sit well with ole Ash Williams. Because, as it turns out – and if you’re surprised by this, you don’t know the character very well – Ash wasn’t such a nice kid himself.

In “Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus,” the folkloric demon shows up in Ash’s trailer park to scare the wits out of a naughty child, and when Ash puts up his dukes and takes the fight to the holiday monster, the Deadite-slayer is reminded just how much of a jerk he was as a kid. There was even that one time a young Ash put laxatives in his teacher’s coffee, and Krampus remembers it all.

Krampus, in this particular spin on the mythology, can only scare children rather than hurt them, but now that Ash is an adult, the fight is on. But “Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus” doesn’t exactly go where you’d expect it to go. As it turns out, Ash and Krampus may have more in common than they initially realize; a humorous twist reveals they may be kindred spirits.

A monster like Krampus somehow seems like the perfect adversary for Ash Williams, and seeing them battle and bicker in the pages of “Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus” immediately made me yearn for an “Ash vs. Evil Dead” Christmas special inspired by this very comic book. The Ian Edginton-penned story weaves Ash into the Krampus mythology in a way that feels true to the character – a young Ash was the only kid in town who actually fought back when Krampus showed up on Christmas Eve – and seeing their worlds collide makes for a fun holiday read.

I mean come on. It’s Ash vs. Krampus. What’s not to love?!

Grab your copy of “Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus” through MerchGoat.

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