Monday, October 7, 2013

Bookmonkey vs Hack/Slash: Day Seven

Hack/Slash begins with three stories: Euthanized, Girls Gone Dead, and Comic Book Carnage, which all work to set up the overall story of Hack/Slash. Euthanized begins with Cassie Hack accompanying a camp counselor to a remote location where he attempts to murder her, but is killed first. The two page opener immediately lets the reader know that Cassie is quite savvy in terms of horror movie tropes and conventions, as well as clarifying that in Cassie’s world there is a significant difference between Slashers and Killers. The issue goes on to give us Cassie’s backstory and then focuses on the main event, a small town plagued with undead animals and a mysterious killer.

As part of the fun of the series is seeing how a character who is quite aware of how events are “supposed to go” in a horror movie works her way through to finding and dispatching the Slasher herself, some plot elements will be discussed but much of the main storyline will be left intentionally vague. Although Cassie is given an introductory backstory in the first issue, her partner Vlad is simply a left as a friendly monster who works with Cassie, is devoted to her, and seems to be almost an innocent in the world. It isn’t until the fourth story, The Land of Lost Toys, that Vlad is given any background except for a brief mention of the butcher and Cassie initially mistaking him for a Slasher.

The interesting aspects of the three series is that at this point they were all quite episodic, aside from mentions of Slashers from previous issues they could all work as stand alone stories and as Cassie and Vlad travel from location to location for their stories, there was no crossover of any characters past the two leads, with reoccurring flashbacks of Cassie’s mother. For me the standout was Comic Book Carnage as it takes place at a comic book convention, mixes up fictional characters with real world characters (two of the victims in the story are Steve Niles, author of the comic series 30 Days of Night, and Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead). In this story an unknown Slasher is targeting the creative team of a new comic book series which is reimagining a classic (to the Hack/Slash universe) superhero called Wunderkind as he is enraged at how the new creators are adapting his favourite character. What I really loved about the story was the focus on the comic book fan community, a look at how conventions work and the tongue and cheek way in which writer Tim Seeley has killed off a number of other horror comic book writers (to be fair, the Hack/Slash version of Tim Seeley is also killed (off-screen) in an upcoming issue).

Hack/Sash Girls Gone Dead Cover Art (2004)

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