With its issue #14, Hack/Slash continues to deliver a weird but highly entertaining mix of slasher comic conventions and preternatural occurrences with sympathetic character pieces and eerie locales. This comic book is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday the 13th and Tales from the Crypt all rolled into one delicious package and its protagonist Cassie Hack is what weaves all the elements together quite nicely. Her friend’s description as, “The scariest, baddest ass chick in the whole damn world” rings true.
This time around, Cassie and Vlad investigate the murders of cast members at a remake of The Wizard of Oz while Cassie’s friend Georgia gets caught in the carnage of an ax wielding armored dwarf. It’s not as silly as it sounds as Seely’s expertly crafted narrative sucks you into the action complimented by Stone’s artwork and colorist Val Staple’s beautifully subdued hues. Seely employs a fragmented timeline device to tell the tale, shifting back and forth from past events to the more urgent present in which Georgia and a munchkin cast member find themselves in mortal danger. The events of the main plot of the comic unveil at a quick pace but in between, there are plenty of pauses from the frantic action which are wisely utilized by the writer to spotlight the characters and to advance previous plot points.
One notable plot point which gets re-examined is Vlad and Cassie’s relationship, which is at the core of the comic. Vlad may feel a little threatened by Cassie’s continuing friendship with Georgia but on the way to the crime scene, the former reassures him that he should not be worried. She sidestepps the issue of the visit to the movie set in Texas where Georgia lives by saying she can take the opportunity to look for her dad.
This has been a recurring subplot in the comic of late, Cassie’s search for her missing dad and it is good to see that Seely isn’t abandoning the idea. Far from it, actually this issue presents a nebulous connection between Cassie’s dad and the evil Dr. Herbert West who is the infamous H.P. Lovecraft character popularized by a series of cult classic Re-Animator movies which will be explored in a new story arc starting next issue.
It’s also evident that Cassie cares for Georgia more than she lets on, she clearly wants to make a deeper connection with the girl but is afraid to do so because she cannot afford to get close to someone and either put her in danger, or lose them altogether. Therefore, she won’t commit to a long lasting emotional investment. These are serious themes to be explored by a horror/slasher comic, but Seely does a fine job of incorporating them into the storyline, especially considering he doesn’t have a lot of time in a one-shot comic such as this one to flesh them out.
Another recurring theme which gets some minor play this issue is the inclusion of Mrs. Jaworski, who’s been seen visiting the police department, whose visions are leading her to hunt down Cassie, whom she believes to be a dangerous serial killer. Following a powerful, albeit perhaps distorted vision, she reaffirms the need for her to continue to search for Cassie, setting up a future confrontation between the Slasher killer and the authorities.
As if all that isn’t enough, the reader is also treated to a glimpse into one of Chris and Lisa’s domestic squabbles. While Pooch cowers in the background, unseen by the Earthlings are some ominous visitors from another demonic milieu who have some nefarious plans of their own.
Final Word: Devil’s Due continues to score big points with this series which should be a must read for every fan of the comic book horror genre.
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