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Hero Ash and Deadite Ed

Evil Dead 2
by yo go re

After a relaxing cabin vacation doesn't go as planned, Ash is left with three dead friends, an undead girlfriend and an angry evil spirit on the loose. As nightfall approaches, Ash must prepare to again battle the legions of the damned if he wants to make it to dawn.

A few years ago, NECA released an Ash Williams in their "Ultimate" line, which basically combined Deadite Ash and Farewell to Arms Ash in one release; if you already had those, you didn't need to rebuy it, and if you didn't, well, now you no longer needed to get them. It did, however, leave Hero Ash out in the cold. Since he wouldn't really have enough potential accessories to justify an Ultimate release of his own, NECA instead chose to update him in this two-pack.

At a glance, this just appears to be a re-release of that 2012 figure - the torn shirt, most of the same accessories, etc. - but there are several useful changes. A big one is the articulation: instead of a swivel waist and a V-crotch, this Ash has a balljointed waist and swivel/hinge hips with swivel thighs, like he should! A smaller change is that the lower edge of his stomach is now painted blue, so we're not seeing a flash of skin below his shirt. He's also been painted with some bloody scratches on his stomach, so even though his (sculpted) chest hair doesn't get a paint app, he's still doing better than before.

He's got the same facial sculpt as before, though the paint is improved there, too, making this Ash look better than that Ash. You know the one: slight look of confusion, mouth hanging open just a bit, eyebrow cocked... Hero Ash, Farewell to Arms Ash, and Hero from the Sky Ash all used it, but none of them have looked as much like Bruce Campbell as this one does.

Oh wait, did we say the same sculpt as before? Well that fails to take into consideration the two all-new heads! That's right, until now, there's only been the shocked human head and the possessed Deadite head; this set adds a perfectly calm Ash, and a furiously angry Ash. The sculpts on those don't quite match the normal head: "Angry" looks more like an Army of Darkness sculpt (five years older than he'd be in Evil Dead II), and "Calm" looks too long. Still, it's good to have more variety!

Like we said, Ash does come with the existing accessories: his sawed-off shotgun, his chainsaw, and the possessed deer head (which does not get the same new attention to detail as Ashley J. Williams, because there's still no way to actually hang it on a wall - could they not have added a nail hole back there?), but that's not all he gets. How about some new things no Ash has come with before? There's the Deadite-killing Kandarian dagger, in all its skeletal/spinal glory, and a copy of the Necronomicon. Before you point out that a Necronomicon is hardly a "new" accessory, this one is hinged so it can open, revealing two of the blood-inked pages within! They're (nearly) just as seen in the opening to the movie: a diagram of eyeballs on the left hand page, and a smiling severed head onthe right, with untranslatable text around them (yes, there's an Evil Dead font called "bullskrit," but the letters here don't match it).

All this by itself might have been enough to get fans to double-dip on an Ultimate Ash, but NECA kept on going, giving us one more thing we'd never seen in the past: an action figure of the Evil Dead's evil Ed.

Ed Getley was the assistant to archaeologist Raymond Knowby (you know, Henrietta's husband), and was dating his daughter Annie. He was on the expedition to Castle Kandar where Professor Knowby found the Necronomicon and dagger, and came back to the US with his boss. When Annie returned from England a week later, he met her at the airport and informed her he hadn't heard from her parents, so together they set off for the Knowbys' remote cabin, where they eventually met a one-handed man covered in blood and brandishing a shotgun.

Ed was just a normal, boring guy before getting turned into a Deadite, so the toy is just wearing loafers, khakis, and a striped shirt. The sleeves are rolled up to the mid-forearms, and the tampographed stripes are mostly good - only "mostly" because, like Beetlejuice, there are necessary gaps beneath the collar. Eh, the colors are so similar that you don't really notice it unless you're looking right at it, so we're not going to complain much. His sharp fingers are splayed wide, and he has all the modern joints, including those double-swivel/hinge elbows that no one other than NECA uses.

This big lunkhead was played by Richard Domeier, who later went on to be a host on QVC, making him a rare bit of overlap in the Venn diagram of "horror fans" and "grandmothers." He'd never seen the original Evil Dead when he auditioned, so since the script called for him to be a demon, he just made demonic faces - which were so well-received that the makeup department based "Evil Ed" on that screen test. We don't get a plain human head, because that wouldn't go with the forearms (cf. a different Ed with a similar situation), but we do get two possessed ones: both have hinged jaws, but only one of them splits apart to reveal the green icor within, representing the moment Ash chainsawed Ed's head in twain. There are no pegs or anything holding the two halves together, just Ed's floppy hair hanging over the upper egde of the diagonal slice.

If Ed had been available by himself, I probably would have just bought him that way. But if I had, I'd have missed out on the best Ash there's been yet.

-- 10/17/19

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