Hack / Slash Volume 1: First Cut Review
The names Laurie Strode, Sidney Prescott, and Sally Hardesty are well known amongst horror film fans. For these three female characters are all soul survivors of a slasher film. This is a rare feat, not many characters can live long enough to see the end credits of any given horror film. But what happens to these female protagonists after witnessing their closest friends chopped to pieces? Do they just go on with their lives? Does Laurie Strode ever take another babysitting job after what happened last Halloween? Will Sally Hardesty ever take a pleasant drive through Texas without being reminded of a certain crazed hillbilly family? Can Sidney Prescott ever answer her home phone without releasing a high pitched shriek? No matter how one looks at it, these survivors are left with severe psychological scars. But these deep seeded scars have turned the protagonist of the series Hack/Slash into one of the most unlikely comic book heroes.
Same as the previously discussed heroines, Cassandra Hack survived her own run in with a slasher but her circumstances are especially disturbing because this attacker just happened to be her own mother. After putting a few bullets into her undead mother’s cranium, Cassie decides to turn the tables and bring the fight to the slashers themselves. Along with her partner Vlad, a blend of Jason Voorhees and Lenny from Of Mice and Men, Cassie travels across the country stopping any supernatural serial killers before their body count reaches the double digits.
This trade collection features three single issues stories following the blood drenched adventures of these two slashers. Euthanized is the title of the first story and it serves as a simple introduction to the series where Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad drive to Indiana to investigate a series of murders surrounding a local animal shelter. The plot follows all the basic story troupes found in every campy horror film. Are there dead teenagers? Yes. Are there any crooked cops? Of course. Does the monster have some tragically sympathetic back story? Hell yeah. But all of these clichéd storytelling elements are a perfect way to peek the interest of any long term horror or comic fan.
The second story, the best of of the three, is titled Girls Gone Dead and follows Vlad and Cassie’s run in with a crazed Evangelist hellbent on killing topless coeds down in sunny Florida. This issue is a perfect summary of what makes Hack/Slash such a great comic. It’s filled with some gut-busting comedic moments, an unforgettable villain, and it also has a surprising amount of emotion. Under Cassie’s tough girl exterior lies just another girl who wants to be normal, but because of her dark past, this dream will never come to be.
The final story is called Comic Book Carnage. This issue is purely done for laughs in which Cassie must protect a group of actual comic book writers and artists from a deranged fan. This isn’t a bad issue, it just fails in comparison to the previous two.
Like the horror films they are lampooning, Hack/Slash at first feels like a guilty pleasure, but with each passing issue, writer Tim Seeley brings slow natural characterization to his two protagonists. This is the most important and often forgotten factor in a horror story. All the sex and violence is fun, but in the end if a viewer cares nothing for the characters they are following, then the end result will be something completely forgettable. Hack/Slash: First Cut is a perfect trade collection to read during the commercials of AMC’s Fearfest.
What else is there left too say? There’s a chick wearing a miniskirt and fishnets beating the crap out of undead cats with a baseball bat. I mean, what’s not to love?
Score: 7.5 out of 10