Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Dave Crosland
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing
The inside cover of each issue of Hack/Slash reads “Cassie Hack is the lone survivor of an attack by a slasher called The Lunch Lady… Now, she travels the world with her monstrous partner Vlad, hunting down and destroying slashers wherever she finds them!” In this issue, Cassie Hack, investigates a serial killer who kills people in their dreams, while her side-kick Vlad consoles a victim’s friend and reveals his own past. The title comes from the serial killer having been obsessed with toys and his childhood, which is reflected in the dreams.
The storyline is like Friday the 13th. Almost everything that has been written in the past 20 years is based on another story, and there are so many spins put on it by the characters that the comic itself is very original. Tim Seeley combines the creepy psychology of a Batman story with the humor common in Indie comics. Vlad’s social awkwardness makes for funny dialogue like, as Vlad is following the victim’s friend, “Well, thanks for the concern, but my best friend just died in my arms…I feel entitled to some f’ing privacy! / Yes…I will walk behind you so you can have your f’ing privacy!”
I love story lines that walk the line between insane and real. While Vlad’s back story of being a big ugly baby raised by a butcher who found him "out back" crosses the line to insane, it is still believable enough to not ruin the story. In the scenes leading up to this flash back, there is a wide range of emotion that builds up to that point.
Artist Dave Crosland is very stylistic, making Cassie into a more bad ass version of Tank Girl (Fan-boys’ note: she is also often scantily clad and has a punk/goth look to her). With gas mask on, Vlad fits the “monstrous” bill, but without the mask is cute and cuddly in an ugly freak sort of way. Add in the shades of gray and brown colorist Roald Munoz often uses and the visuals become a horrific version of Tank Girl.
In one great scene Cassie sneaks into the mental hospital where the killer’s mother lives, beats up one of the orderlies, and then abusively interrogates the terrified mother. Here we find out how the killer got started, that he was killed himself, and his motive. Don’t wanna ruin the surprise, but it’s another insane back story with enough believeable aspects to it. The facial expressions, dialogue, and action are similar to scenes in Tank Girl (and that’s not a bad thing). The mother has been drawing all the lovely images her son puts in her head during dreams, so there are a lot of little details to be seen in the background.
Combining character and plot development found in the Big Two Publishers with the art and dark humor of many Indies makes Hack/Slash a great pick up. This was the first issue of it that I read, and Seeley made me feel like I knew the whole story and the characters.
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