Back when I visited Savannah Comics in GA the owner, Chuck, was incredibly generous in gifting me a big ol’ stack of Image Firsts series of comics. (Thank you again Chuck!) I, being the lover of both free things and comic books was absolutely thrilled about it! So, since I have quite the collection going now, I figured I’d review a few of them. And you guys are going to get kind of a neat perspective in the process. Since I am a new arrival to the land of comics there are a ton of these I haven’t even heard of, today’s issue included. So I will be reviewing things based on what my virgin eyes have seen without any reference to the massive following or run the stories may have. Ok, with those little thoughts now informing your brain-bits let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?
Image Firsts Edition 2010
Written by Tim Seeley, Pencilled by Stefano Caselli and Emily Stone, Colored by Sunder Raj and Courtney Via, Lettered by Marshall Dillon
In this issue we learn about Cassie Hack’s childhood and how she became the Slasher (serial killer) hunter she is today through flashbacks mixed in with her very real and immediate struggle with her current mark. A skinless psychotic ex-therapist set on slicing her apart both mentally and physically. We also get to see how her hulking side-kick Vlad, aka Meatman, joined her on her crusade.
This comic has all the flare of a revenge spree like the movie Kill-Bill with the humor and pacing of the early days of Supernatural. There’s an endless amount of blood splatter covering the pages of this adventure, and yet it still manages to be playful at some moments and serious at others. Which made this a very enjoyable read-through.
I have very few criticisms for this issue. The origin portion of the tale seems a bit rushed. However, I have a feeling it only reads that way because the first few pages are from a separate issue than the rest of the book. I think they did a little cut and paste action for the Image Firsts edition to help new readers catch on to the story quicker. Despite the weirdness in the pacing of the first couple pages, I really enjoyed the story. I enjoyed how the story played out and how they paced it like an action movie. Flash-backs are inter-cut with some tense and gory scenes in the present day to fill in Cassie’s background without becoming weighed down by too much exposition. You get just enough time with Cassie in her childhood to begin to empathize with her. She struggled with bullying and an overprotective mother before her life was hacked to pieces and she made the change from quiet little mouse to brazen Slasher hunter.
The artwork is done in a very clean and easy to read style. It has that crispness and vibrancy of photoshop with a little sketchiness left in the line-work to give it the bit of roughness it needs to add to the character. One of the things I noticed was that the environments seemed a little too clean and controlled at times but it really didn’t detract from the work because gave the gore and action the breathing-room it needed to not be lost in background detail when it happened. The artwork’s greatest strength in this issue really comes from the penciler’s subtlety with the character’s expressions. There were quite a few moments where not a ton was said in words, but a world of emotion was expressed through the character’s face. And it is there, in those intimate moments where the humanity and frailty of the characters peeks through the rough-and-tough facade that really hooked me into wanting to read more of this series. It isn’t just a non-stop action-pack murder spree, it’s one that is rooted in its characters and I hope that the future issues really continue to develop them.
This is a very strong start to what looks like a very fun and violent series. I will definitely be adding Hack Slash volumes 1-5 and beyond to my reading list. So if you’re the kind of reader who enjoys some irreverent blood-spattered fighting with strong well-rounded characters, I think this might be something for you to explore. Star score? 4 out of 5 stars. I’m holding that last star in reserve until I can read more of the series, because it’s a strong start that I want to make sure it follows through on. (I say as if the one star I’m holding hostage matters. *sigh* )
If you want this particular edition of Hack Slash you’d have to go hunt for it on Ebay, or you can just ask me. I’ll send my actual copy to the first person who asks. Might as well share the love, right?
Volume 1: Amazon
Volume 2: Amazon
Volume 3: Amazon
Volume 4: Amazon
Volume 5: Amazon
Or call up your local comicbook shop 😉
More Knowledge for the old Skull Cushion:
And here are the relevant links to the pencilers on the team: