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Hack/Slash Omnibus volume 1 (Hack/Slash #1)

Write on: Fri, 25 May 2018 by  in Charles' Reviews Be the first to comment! Read 1350

4/5

I should make a confession before I begin this review that I love slasher films. I have a somewhat twisted perspective on them, though, which is the fact they're actually quite intelligent when done right as well as proto-feminist. They are, after all, among the first movies where the heroine can and does kick the ass of the monster. Jaime Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Linda Hamilton all got their start taking down a monstrous killer that had backed them into a corner. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was based on Joss Whedon's desire to have the usual victim of a monstrous stalker rebel and kill the creature attacking her.

Unfortunately, the genre isn't exactly spotless in its presentation to the rest of the world. For every smart slasher movie like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, or Friday the 13th part 2--there's an enormous number of derivatives which just exist to kill the cast in horrifying ways. This often includes pneumatically endowed young women who the audience has come to see get slaughtered after showing their temples to physical fitness. Hack/Slash lies somewhere in the middle with its troublesome cover combined with Cassie Hack being one of my favorite female protagonists.

The premise of the book is Cassie Hack is a somewhat darker, R-rated version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The daughter of an undead psycho-killer called "The Lunch Lady", Cassie killed her mother after she raised from the dead following a serial murder spree. It turns out this is entirely possible in this world and there is an entire species of undead killers called Slashers. Cassie, originally a shy and reserved girl, reinvents herself as a slayer of slayers. She also allies with a deformed Jason Voorhees-looking man named Vlad.

The stories are at their best whenever they take a somewhat tongue and cheek attitude toward the material akin to Wes Craven's Scream. There's parodies of numerous popular franchises with an actual appearance by Chucky (that is played straight no less). There are plenty of places the series gets gory and a lot of the supporting cast for each issue gets killed. Surprisingly, there's also an entertaining supporting cast which elevates the material.

Cassie Hack as a broken young woman who just happens to be very good at killing monsters. She's a lonely, bitter, and troubled young woman who has never had a chance at a normal life. It's a rare role for a female character in comics and a fairly deep one. I also love the character of Vlad who, despite looking like a 7ft tall orc, actually had a loving father and upbringing which gives him a more optimistic view of the world. They have a veterinarian and her boyfriend as their support staff, which also gives a "normal" view of the slasher world.

The Hack/Slash comics have something a lot of the original Halloween and Friday imitators do not possess and that's character development as well as a strong emotional core. Cassie is afraid of the darkness inside her and killing is about the only thing she knows to do given her childhood was ripped away from her by her insane mother (who was still the first person to ever love her).

So why only 4/5 instead of 5? Well, it's more like a 4.5 for story and a 3.0 for presentation. Cassie Hack is a fascinating character and while I am perfectly fine with fanservice, I think the book goes overboard in treating her as a Goth Barbie pinup. I say that as a great lover of Goths, girls, and Goth girls (I married one after all). I also didn't much care for the Evil Ernie crossover that figures prominently in the book. Bluntly, I've never found the character to be that interesting and Cassie falling for the zombie psycho killer seemed grossly out of character.

Still, the art is lovely and I've mentioned how much I love both slasher films as well as works which try to elevate the material. I rank this as one of my favorite horror comics despite the flaws. I also appreciate the wonderfully perverse slasher characters created by Tim Seeley. You can spot their origins while simultaneously calling them original characters. While I may not be a fan of some crossovers in this series (and there are a lot of them), some work fantastically well like Herbert West and (much latter) The Evil Dead's Ashley Williams. But there is one question that puzzles me. Is it Hack-Slash or Hack-Slash-Slash?

Last modified on Saturday, 26 May 2018 06:51
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.

Website: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/

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