Saturday, December 19, 2009

Comic Review: HACK/Slash; First Cut

Title: Hack/Slash-First Cut

Author: Tim Seeley, ill. Stefano Caselli & Federica Manfredi, cover by Tim Seeley & Blond

Pages: 160

Received From: Amazon


In every slasher movie, there's one girl who makes it all the way to the end. She's the survivor... the last girl. Meet Cassie Hack, the lone survivor of an attack by a vicious slasher called The Lunch Lady. Now Cassie, along with her monstrous partner, Vlad, travel the country, hunting down other slashers before they can leave a trail of blood and terror.

more in-depth summary:

Slashers are "Bad" because they're icky grotesques who hate people, especially horny teenagers, and like to butcher them. On the other hand, cute goth Cassie Hack and her huge, deformed partner, Vlad, must be "Good" because they go around the country killing slashers in various messy ways. Cassie, last survivor of the Lunch Lady killings, is aware enough of genre conventions to make sarcastic comments as she does her thing, but action is pretty standard. Seeley's scripts are efficient enough, and Caselli and Manfredi's dark, dark art gets the job done. In "Comic Book Carnage," set at a commercial comics convention, Cassie and Vlad really do get involved with their surroundings; for the first time, the supporting characters become slightly more than slasher-movie stereotypes, so that it matters somewhat whether they live or die.

When I came upon this little lovely on my Amazon recs, I LOLed for a good twenty minutes. I mean, it just looks so damn ridiculous. In the greatest way, mind you.

Cassandra Hack is dark, she's enigment, she's hot--but that doesn't mean she's a screaming ninny. Being the orphaned survivor of the Lunch Lady terrors, Cassie and her deformed lug of a partner travel around the country hunting slashers--you know, those evil dudes who lurk the eighties horror scene. Turns out, they're everywhere. And Cassie's good looks are just the thing to lure them in.

Oh, boy. Looks like Channukah came early for this Jew! I lovedlovedloved Hack/Slash with a burning passion. I would run away to Cabo with this book. I would marry it and have it's babies. I loved it!

Here we have a girl, connected to the slasher genre in a very personal way; her mother, the lunch lady at her school, noticed the other kids picking on her...and decided to serve up some justice. In the form of poisoned sloppy joes (as if sloppy joe's weren't toxic enough; I digress). When confronted, the lunch lady committed suicide by head in boiling gravy. She then came back to life to continue her rampage on school bullies until Cassie was forced to give her mother her final death. And now she's made it her goal in life to take down slashers--and any morally declined teenagers who get in her way.

I am so in freaking love with Cassie. If I were a lesbian, she would be my girlfriend, and we would travel to small towns and kill masked villains with baseball bats together and it would be so romnantic. (perhaps that's one to many declarations of love for one post?) She is deliciously, unforgivingly badass while somehow being sympathetic and cute. Ditto with Vlad, except Vlad is cute in a big ugly rotweiller kind of way (as in frightening).

This is obviously meant to be a satire--I would worry if it was anything otherwise--and in that end, it succeeds only barely. While there is an honest attempt, there are so few actual parody aspects in the pages that it was more like reading a rejected script for Supernatural (aka the only show that I've become so disgusted with I make a point not to watch it). While I'm surely not expecting any sort of hard-hitting emotional depth, I'm sure Hack/Slash would have been more enjoyable had there been more...I don't know...heart. Again, there are hints, but it never really goes hardcore satire or hardcore heartfelt. So we're left with a comic that drifts in the middle, that can at times feel empty and unsatisfying.

Despite it's shortcomings, Hack/Slash is so entertaining I can imagine reading it several times over. Defintely reccomended for some good, macabre fun.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Also: I love the bit of tenderness the authors put in, as Vlad and Cassie wait for their next hit--

Vlad: Why do you travel to places…help people who are not nice to you?
Cassie: I guess it’s probably because if I don’t do this, I have to go the real world…you know…where they work 9-5 jobs, and find true love, and have sex…and…maybe I’m afraid I’d find out what a freak I really am.


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