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Hack/Slash: First Cut (Devil’s Due / Image Comics, 2004)

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Cassie Hack and her hulking, monstrous companion Vlad travel the country, hunting the kind of maniacs that slasher films are built on.  The first three one-shots in the series see her taking on undead animals and their master, a killer priest, and a literal embodiment of a superhero trope.  Think of it as a sort of one-woman, one-monster Scooby-Doo with a lot more gore.

Make no mistake: Seeley’s slasher send-up is more parody than actual horror fare.  That doesn’t keep it from sharing plenty of features with the films it satirizes; most positively, its maniacs can be more revolting than most earnest horror comics’ monsters.  Parodying a genre that relies on sex and objectification means those same things happen here.  Hack/Slash wouldn’t be the first satire to take on the traits it comments on, but I do feel like that happens some here, and it’s at least worth being aware of.

A couple of art teams split the work between Euthanized and the other two one-shots in this collection.  Stefano Casseli and Sunder Raj handle lines and colors for Euthanized, respectively, and give the book a grainy, textured look that I really dig.  Frederica Manfredi, David Amici, and Fabio Mantovani’s work in Girls Gone Dead and Comic Book Carnage is smoother.  All three look great, but the graininess in Euthanized has a creepier feel that I really dig.

Hack/Slash is a lot of fun.  You don’t have to be a fan of slasher flicks—I’m not one—to dig into it, as long as you have an idea of what their tropes are.  I wouldn’t consider it a universal recommendation, because some of its content could easily provide reason to skip it—the blood and gore and gruesomeness, for example, or its adoption of the genre’s cheesecake tendencies.  I enjoyed its cleverness, though, as well as its rejection of common prejudices and entitlements by framing them as the motivation of maniacs.  It’s not subtle, and it’s not without its flaws, but Hack/Slash is a fun read, and I will be reading more to see how it gels and matures over time.

 

 

Collected in

  • Hack/Slash, Vol. 1: First Cut (Euthanized, Girls Gone Dead, and Comic Book Carnage)
  • Hack/Slash Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Euthanized, Girls Gone Dead, Comic Book Carnage, Vs. Evil Ernie, The Land of Lost Toys #1-3, Trailers, Slashing Through the Snow, Slice Hard Prequel, Slice Hard, Vs. Chucky)

Credits

Euthanized

Writer: Tim Seeley | Penciller: Stefano Casseli | Colorist: Sunder Raj | Letterer: Marshall Dillon | Graphic Designer: Mike Norton

Girls Gone Dead & Comic Book Carnage

Writer: Tim Seeley | Penciller: Frederica Manfredi | Colorists: David Amici with Fabio Mantovani | Letterer: Marshall Dillon | Graphic Designer: Mike Norton

Vengeance of the Moon Knight: Killed, Not Dead (Marvel Comics, 2009; #7-10)

Catwoman: Crooked Little Town (DC Comics, 2002; #5-10)