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King For A Day was the thirteenth issue of the second volume of Dynamite Entertainment's ongoing Army of Darkness series. Released in 2008, this single-issue story picks up immediately after the events of the Home Sweet Hell storyline.

Plot Synopsis

The Oldsmobile tumbles through the time vortex before landing with it's two screaming passengers in a mountainous valley. As the dust stirred up from the impact of their landing settles, Ash Williams and Sheila get out and examine their surroundings. Suddenly, Sheila spots The Wise Man, who has been awaiting their arrival. After greeting the time-travelers, The Wise Man leads them back to Castle Kandar, where Ash expects to be worshiped as a hero once more. Passing through the castle gate, Ash and Sheila are stunned at the sight before them. The castle walls have sustained severe damage, towers have crumbled, and the lowly peasants which populate the fortress seemed to have been severely demoralized.

Sheila begins to weep at the ruin state of her home, prompting Ash to ask what happened. Both the Wise Man and the Necronomicon itself tell The Chosen One that when the book was removed from the cursed altar in the graveyard, it had awoken evil everywhere, not just Evil Ash and his small army. In the weeks that followed, legions of monsters attacked Castle Kandar, marking the beginning of the year-long "War of The Dead". The combined might of Lord Arthur and Henry The Red (along with their respective armies), while valiant in their attempt to protect the Necronomicon held within their walls, was not enough to stop the creatures entirely, and the two leaders fell in battle.

The Wise Man then reveals that when Arthur and Henry formed a truce, the bodies of slain soldiers were returned, including that of Sheila's brother (now given a proper burial and headstone).Ash is then informed that in his absence, he was made a royal knight by both Arthur and Henry, and since both rulers and their previous knights had all perished in the war, Williams was now king. Tossing the Ex-Mortis aside, Ash asks for Sheila's hand in marriage while accidentally standing on the grave of her fallen brother. Sheila accepts her Chosen One's proposal, and the two arrange to be married the following day. While the castle's residents celebrate, The Wise Man picks of the Book of The Dead, having notice that it was crying blood.

Hours later, Ash and Sheila are preparing to go to bed when the two Deadites which inhabited the castle's pit attack. Meanwhile, The Wise Man has made a disturbing discovery while reading the Ex-Mortis, and runs out of his study to warn Ash. Back in the bedroom, the engaged couple manage to dispose of the Deadites in their own unique ways (Sheila sets one ablaze and kicks it out of the window, while Ash grabs his trusty Boomstick and blows the other away). The Wise Man barges in, warning Ash that the book had given him three visions of various tests that The Chosen One must face, but before he can elaborate, Lord Arthur and Henry The Red (newly resurrected as Deadites) have come to destroy the new king. As Ash revs up his chainsaw, Sheila notices a third Deadite lingering behind: her brother. She begs Ash not to harm him, but Ash sees him as just another undead monster gunning for him. Williams goes to attack Arthur first, only to have the blade of his chainsaw get cut in half by the axe-wielding Duke Henry. The Deadite royalty pin Ash to the bedroom wall, sticking an arrow and a sword directly into his shoulders. Sheila pleas with her Deadite brother to help her true love, and in an action which surprises everyone in the room, kills Arthur and Henry. Sheila's brother says that he wanted to congratulate them on their coming nuptial, and to personally thank Ash for "including him" during the proposal.

As dawn begins to break the following morning, Ash asks The Wise Man why Sheila's brother saved him despite being a Deadite. The Wise Man explains that Sheila looked after her brother following the death of their parents during the bubonic plague, and that it was her love and care that shaped him into one of Arthur's finest warriors. The two watch as Sheila spends what little time she has left with her brother before the purifying rays of the sun destroy the Deadite completely, and The Wise Man proceeds to tell Ash about his visions. The second of the illusions showed him that of Sheila was to stay at Ash's side and accompany him back to the future, she would pay the price of her love with her life. Ash, having finally been fed up with all the death and destruction the book has wrought upon his life and loved ones, orders The Wise Man to destroy it once and for all. The book screams that it will to anything to be spared, and Ash forces it to resurrect Sheila's brother as a proper human.

After Sheila embraces her fully human brother, The Wise Man tells Ash that the third and final test was not one of his might, but of his heart. Ash tells Sheila that he has to leave her, though refraining on specifically why. The two share a kiss, and Ash packs up his belongings and walks into the sunset. After a few days of walking, Ash swallows a potion created by The Wise Man that would allow him to awaken back in his own time. As he prepares to drift off, Ash hopes that his sleep wouldn't be filled with nightmares of the things he'd seen and done, but rather a dream of the love he was leaving behind.

Variant Covers

Trivia

  • As of 2021, this issue marks the final appearance of the Earth-818793 version of Sheila.
  • Ash swallows six drops of a magic potion that will cause him to sleep his way back to the future. This is a direct reference to the original ending of the Army of Darkness film in which Ash takes one too many drops and awakens in a post-apocalyptic future.
  • This was the first numbered "one-shot" story to be part of the ongoing Army of Darkness series.
  • Though it is unrelated to the Earth-818793 continuity, Ash and Sheila would be married in the 2014 comic Army of Darkness: Ash Gets Hitched.

Continuity Notes

  • Ash mentions that the Necronomicon was responsible for his death and starting the apocalypse (The Death of Ash and From The Ashes)
  • The Wise Man mentions that Ash will return to 1300 AD one more time. As of 2021, no comics set in the Earth-818793 continuity have depicted this.

Continuity Errors

  • It is mentioned that "The War of The Dead" only ended due to Castle Kandar no longer holding a copy of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. This should not be the case, as there would need to be a book there for Professor Knowby to discover in the castle's ruins several centuries later. The copy Ash has with him in this issue was recovered from the Knowby's Cabin in 21st Century (as seen in Ashes 2 Ashes), and has been with him for a majority of the titles which take place in the Earth-818793 continuity.

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