"Tub Club" (part 2)
I couldn’t get to the comic shop Wednesday so I asked a friend to pick up my pulls for me and bring them into work. She’s really bright and happy, so she’s smiling, and walks into the office that we share with other people and throws onto my desk Hack/Slash with the cover showing Cassie near topless on top of another woman who is also near naked. If it was anywhere else, I might not mind, but I quickly flipped it over to avoid a sexual harassment situation. Luckily the back shows the cover for next month, which shows Cassie in black lingerie positioned with Georgia in white lingerie to form a human yin-yang symbol. So the comic spent the day under a pile of papers in a drawer. Those covers act as a ‘Parental Warning: Explicit Content’ to someone who might casually happen upon the title. However, what’s inside goes much further.
This is a great example of the fact that it doesn’t take nudity or excessive blood to push the envelope of risqué. Less nudity then Janet Jackson’s over hyped Super Bowl performance, and no piles of dead bodies like Blackhawk Down and I feel dirtier looking at "Tub Club" then Blackhawk Down or Janet Jackson—and I doubt I’m in the minority.
Despite the idea being something as light hearted as lesbian all-girl-school-serial-killer-cult this story arc is the first arc that hasn’t had a light-hearted side to it. There is one scene that shows softness as Cassie tries to keep Vlad awake when he gets a concussion and has to keep him up. They sit and play slapjack, which is about it for softness. I almost venture to say that the tone of this is a dramatic departure from stories such as Slice Hard and Chucky, but the only difference is a lack of overt humor.
What "Tub Club" drops in humor, Hack/Slash regains with more emotional content then it has had since becoming an on-going title. While running around chasing lesbians, Cassie is having to deal with serious and relatable issues of prioritizing friendships and her sexuality. Even though the hair metal story line was entertaining, it really was kind of stupid whereas the "Tub Club" issues should make a lot of readers think about more then the entertainment value of it - they will think of their own lives. That’s what sets this comic apart.
In terms of the plot, something I really like is how the first issue led me to believe that Cassie and Vlad are facing a new foe, hinting at a bigger picture by showing Chris learning of a killing in Iowa similar to what Cassie and Vad are investigating in Maryland. This issue briefly follows a group of covert-op types who are tracking the beauty queen Emily Christy who is an older villain of the series. They’ve tracked her through the aforementioned Iowa murder and right across the country to the college where Vlad and Cassie are. So next issue definitely will be interesting.
As good of storytelling as this issue is, I can’t recommend it to everyone. It doesn’t show nudity like some comics, but it’s more sexually explicit then most of the comics that do show it. The violence in this is not like superhero comics or even many in the horror genre - it does show a wrist-slashing scene (the character doesn’t cross the street on her wrist…).
So be warned.
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