She’s dark and enigmatic, but that doesn’t mean Cassie Hack is a goth chick or some artist lost in the depths of her own madness. The young Hack has a very successful (albeit non-paying) career as a slasher-hunter. You know, all those dang pesky slashers who die some strange death and come back to kill everyone for the fun of it? Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and that whole lot? Hack hunts them down and puts them to their final death. Granted, she didn’t aspire to this career as a girl, it just kind of fell into her lap when she had to take out her mother, the dreaded Lunch Lady, who was serving up students in the sloppy joe.
With no family to speak of, Hack took to the road to do away with other vicious killers. Along the way, she befriended the benevolent and disfigured Vlad, and together they continue to hunt the numerous slashers wreaking havoc upon the world, particularly morally-declined teens.
In this first volume, Hack and Vlad take down three slashers in total. Each story delivers a good evolution of plot while at the same time filling in the history of our heroes. As a series based off a sub-genre of horror movies, often plots will have identifiable sources to compare and contrast. In the first story arc, when dead animals start attacking humans, readers prolific in the slasher and/or horror genre might cite Pet Sematary as a potential source of inspiration. The next story arc, “Girls Gone Dead,” pokes fun at the “Girls Gone Wild” series by releasing a slasher at a promotional party in Panama City Beach. Of course, the third story arc, “Comic Book Carnage,” becomes supremely surreal by bringing Hack and Vlad to a Whizzer World Comic Book Convention in Pennsylvania. While attending and doing “research”, Hack meets comic book genius Steven Niles (an actual comic book writer). Niles, with three friends, is starting a new company, and apparently a slasher seems very upset with the idea. As each one is killed, Hack must figure out how to find a freak at a place where freaks are commonplace.
Hack Slash has some great substance and entertainment to it. The concept (hunting the hunters) seems to be a common theme of late in pop culture. Suspect Zero and Darkly Dreaming Dexter are two recent takes on this theme. But Hack Slash manages to both use and mock the style and coding of the slasher film, including an excess of scantily clad women and a predilection to killing the morally-challenged. The chemistry between Hack and Vlad works as they slowly get to know and depend on each other.
Of course, the extras to this graphic novel make it that much more appealing. From an introduction from award-winning graphic novelist Craig Thompson to the morbidly funny “Slashing Through the Snow” (a bloody take on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas), the extras provide great entertainment and additional understanding to the series as well as a look into the deranged minds of the authors. Villain biographies that include a body count and weapon of choice bring laughs and appreciation to the graphic novel, while a gallery, sketchbook, interview, and author bios also add depth.
Moderately retailing just under fifteen dollars, this graphic novel proves worth the investment. With an enjoyable storyline, great action, and snappy dialogue, the authors manage to provide everything one could ask for in a graphic novel—or a slasher film.