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Old School was a three-chapter storyline printed in issues five through seven of Dynamite Entertainment's ongoing Army of Darkness series from 2006 (continuing the issue numbering started by Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator).

Synopsis

In the still of night, a dark and shapeless entity roams the grounds outside of the old Knowby cabin. The soil beneath a wooden cross begins to shift, and the living corpse of Linda rises to the surface, placing her decapitated head on her cleanly-cut neck. Soon, more Deadites begin to awaken, inhabiting the bodies of those who had met their unfortunate end during that fateful weekend trip. The possessed bodies shamble towards the cabin itself, awaiting for the imminent arrival of something, or someone...

Days after escaping the haunted halls of Arkham Asylum, Ash Williams finds himself hunched over a neatly polished countertop in a dive bar. Attempting to drown his sorrows with a steady stream of whiskey-filled shot glasses, Ash laments the deaths of the innocent students and teachers that he could have saved, though he's actually more distraught over losing his beloved Sheila. Sugarbaby tries console him, but Ash is adamant that he still could have done more to save Sheila. Stumbling out of the bar and climbing into the passenger seat of his Oldsmobile, Ash finally succumbs to the copious amount of alcohol inside of him and blacks out as Sugarbaby begins to drive. In his dream, Ash stands triumphant in the aisles of S-Mart as a few scantly-clad ladies from his past (Sheila, Linda, and Mindy) approach him. Before any "advancements" himself, the girls begin to explode and melt into puddles of blood on the tiled floor, screaming and blaming Ash for their deaths. From out of the blood emerges Evil Ash, taunting his duplicate that Sheila will suffer like no-one else because of him. Ash suddenly jolts awake, escaping the alcohol-induced nightmare. Sugarbaby tells Ash that while they might not be able to save Sheila from the Mirror Dimension, there is a way to see her one last time. She explains that they must return to the cabin, and destroy the anchor allowing Deadite spirits to enter the world of the living. Once this is completed, the Necronomicon will grant one wish to whoever closes the portal. While reluctant at first, Ash agrees that they must go back, but not before stopping at S-Mart to pick up some supplies first.

The duo soon arrive at the cabin, and evil wastes no time in drawing first blood, using living trees to rip Ash from out of the front seat of the Delta and drag him into the cabin. From the fruit cellar below, Ash hears a call from a familiar voice. Heading down to investigate, he's surprised by the sudden appearance of the Deadite Linda, but lands a well-timed kick that decapitates her once more. As Ash goes to head back up to the upper-level of the cabin, he's greeted by an axe-wielding Deadite Jake at the top of the cellar stairs, followed-up by a Deadite Annie Knowby coming from behind. Getting up to the cabin's main room, Ash manages toss Annie into the path of Jake's axe, the sharp hatchet burying itself deep in her skull. Quickly finishing off Annie with his chainsaw, Ash turns his attention back to Jake. Using his metal gauntlet, Williams rips Jake's jaw off, and the Deadite falls to the floor, writhing in pain. Dismembering the hillbilly with the axe that just killed Annie, Ash notices that the walls of the cabin have morphed into a giant face and claw, which explodes into splinters after a shot from the Boomstick.

Outside, Sugarbaby leaves the "safety" of the car to go aid Ash, only to be attacked by the Kandarian Demon before she can reach the front door. Back inside, Ash waits patiently for the next attack, which just so happens to be the newly-possessed Sugarbaby. Ash manages to subdue the Deadite Sugarbaby, promising he'll destroy the anchor and save her soul. After dealing with a possessed toilet in the cabin bathroom, a resurrected Henrietta Knowby emerges from the fruit cellar. During their back-and-fourth banter, Ash realizes that the anchor is none other than Raymond Knowby, the man responsible for unleashing the Deadites in the first place. Delivering a round of buckshot to Henrietta's head, The Chosen One ventures back into the cellar to find Knowby's spirit. Laying on the earthen floor at his feet, Ash finds the tape recorder which Raymond used to translate the Book of The Dead, and proceeds to chop it up using his chainsaw. Suddenly, the cabin begins to rumble as the portal begins to close, and Ash dashes to the staircase. Before Ash can make his escape, the cabin lets out a groan of defeat, and collapses directly on top of him. Sugarbaby, now released of the Deadite spirit's hold over her, looks at the pile of debris and notices Ash's arm sticking out from between the wooden boards.

A gust of wind picks up, and the ghostly visage of Sheila appears, pulling her beloved's body from the wreckage. Ash, battered and bruised, awakens to the sight of his former lover, who states that her time is limited and must deliver an important message. She tells Ash that it is his responsibility as The Chosen One to stop the denizens of the Necronomicon in all their forms, as it is the only way to avoid the coming of the Anti-Christ. Sheila's spirit disappears, and Ash and Sugarbaby leave, satisfied that the evil that roams these woods is no more. Unbeknownst to the duo, Ash's severed hand picks up a hammer and props up some wooden boards, beginning the long and tedious reconstruction of the cabin...

At that same moment thousands of miles away, a lone car pulls up to a riverside warehouse in New York City, where out steps a heavily-accented elderly man and his entourage of hired hands. Quickly going inside the warehouse, the man immediately spots a severed head with a silver cross lodged deep in it's forehead laying on the ground. As one of the goons goes to remove the cross, the sharp edges cuts his fingers, and several drops of blood touch the head. Suddenly, the head springs to life, using it's sharp fangs to dig into the man's neck. Blood splatters like paint across the warehouse walls, and in a swirling tornado of life-giving liquid, Dracula has been reborn...

Cover Gallery

Virgin Covers

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Trivia

  • None of the characters from Evil Dead II featured in this series (Annie, Henreitta, Raymond, Jake, and Ed) are ever specifically identified by name.
  • Despite making a cameo as one of the Deadites rising from their graves in issue five, Ed Getley does not appear at any other point in the story.
  • A copy of A Farewell To Arms (a callback to a gag first seen in the Evil Dead II film) is seen when Ash is fighting Henrietta.
  • Raymond Knowby's dialog heard on the tape recorder is pulled directly from The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II.
  • According to artist Kevin Sharpe, one of Doctor Hieronymus Von Heinrich's henchmen from issue seven is modeled after professional wrestler John Cena.
  • The bartender in issue five bears a striking resemblance to The Blacksmith of 1300 AD.
  • The newspaper covering the destruction of Arkham Asylum mentions "The Hoaxter" as one of the patients. This is a reference to the DC Comics character and Batman villain "The Joker" (a frequent inmate of DC's version of Arkham Asylum).
  • Ash's hand turning on Professor Knowby's tape recorder is possibly a reference to the opening of the Evil Dead: Hail To The King video game, where it activated the tape player and awakened the Deadites once more.

Continuity Notes

  • The events of Shop 'Till You Drop Dead and Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator are mentioned.
  • A billboard for the Dawn of The Deadites video game is seen outside of the bar in issue five (Shop 'Till You Drop Dead)
  • Issue seven features a flashback of Sheila, Herbert West, and "H.P." standing in the Alice In Wonderland-inspired Mirror Dimension (Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator)

Continuity Errors

  • Ash's severed hand was last seen in the Ashes 2 Ashes miniseries, where it was used to resurrect Evil Ash in Egypt after leaving the cabin by hiding in Ash's knapsack. As Evil Ash would later be seen in his Ashes 2 Ashes "Egyptian" form in the Ash Vs. The Classic Monsters story (with both of his hands still intact), it would be impossible for the hand to somehow still be at the cabin.
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