HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1 by Tini Howard, Celor, and K. Michael Russell
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
While undercut by over-the-top costume decisions, HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1 is filled with brilliant comedy, satire, and characterization. Not for every reader, but those who take to it will obsess.
80 %
HACK/SLASH is Back!
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With Halloween come and gone, we are again reminded of the reason for the season. I’m not talking about candy or costumes. I’m talking about good old-fashioned slaughterhouse horror! While decidedly graphic and oftentimes cheesy to the point of comedic, horror has become a genre all its own. With iconic characters like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kreuger, Hannibal Lector, and a cavalcade of other rogues, our nightmares have been occupied for the last several decades. Still, these films leave viewers to wonder what would happen if the teen victims actually fought back. Would there be story enough in following a killer of killers? By the ongoing success of Image Comics’ HACK/SLASH, started in 2004, one could surmise as much. Now, Image is bringing Cassandra Hack’s battle against slashers back to readers in HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1, written by Tini Howard.

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Cassandra Hack is retired. Her short career as a hunter of monsters (called Slashers) began when her own mother came back from the dead as the monstrous “Lunch Lady.” Now, she’s all alone, streaming video games from her trailer in the mountains. She doesn’t even have to wear pants most days. However, when a pair of zombies creeps down from a nearby penitentiary, Hack has no choice but to slip back into her old jeans and take up her machete. And when a nearby camp for Slasher survivors asks for her help in training them against the dark, how can a young hunter say no?

Fighting Zombies in Underwear?

HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1
Courtesy of Image Comics

Despite its initial release in 2004, HACK/SLASH felt like a very 90’s comic. Gallons of blood filled the page alongside cheesy one-liners, and Hack ran around as a visually sexualized heroine. Her costumes involved skimpy underwear ensembles, tank tops, or tight-fitting clothes. For fans of the modern age, this seems immediately repugnant. On the one hand, I wholly agree. No character needs that level of obviously sexual visuals. However, as a satire of the horror genre, Hack never came off as gratuitous in her appearance. Sure, Tim Seeley could have toned it down a little, but the ridiculousness and overall brutality of the series showcased Cassandra as more of a badass, uber-confident heroine than a sexualized idol.

The same cannot necessarily be said of Howard’s new adaptation of Cassandra Hack in HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1. Most of the issue, Cassandra is alone in her trailer, contemplating her retirement. And throughout, her character is brilliantly characterized. She has a unique and interesting voice full of sardonic humor and sarcasm. When we finally get to the zombie killing part of the plot, it feels like good old-fashioned HACK/SLASH. However, for that entire time in the trailer, Cassandra flaunts about in nothing but her underwear. The thoughts going on in her head have that old school feel, but because the gory action doesn’t buffer her appearance, it comes off a bit unnecessary and gratuitous.

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Cassandra Hack is Back!

HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1
Courtesy of Image Comics

This unnecessarily scant costuming may be my only true complaint about HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1. The plot is otherwise interesting. While it isn’t anything groundbreaking, the overall tone meshes well with the original series. In that HACK/SLASH is meant as horror satire, I almost feel this issue is an ode to Jamie Lee Curtis in the most recent HALLOWEEN film. After so many months or years free, Hack has horror thrust back into her lap. She cannot return to a normal life, and that leads to complications but also maintains a deeply humorous tone throughout.

I almost prefer that Howard writes this story almost Slasher-free. For new readers, HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1 is a great jumping on point. With plenty of new narrative for old fans to sink their teeth into, Howard also provides an excellent rundown of the series’ history. There is also a cameo by Hack’s former partner Vlad in a strange hallucination, which furthers the story rather well. There is still enough brutal action and zombies to push the story along and entice fans, but the introspection here may just be some of the best in the series.

Twisted Reality

HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1
Courtesy of Image Comics

While the costume decisions detract from the art, the overall visual aesthetic of this story is gorgeous. Artist Celor makes the world of HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1 gritty with his dense linework and careful stylization. However, there is a bit of inconsistency. The style feels like a Saturday Morning Cartoon aesthetic, but at times, it almost comes off as a pulpy realism. Neither are bad on their own, but together the inconsistency manages to throw this story off.

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K. Michael Russell’s astounding colors balance the gritty lines of Celor’s art. At times garish and bright, at others somber and spooky, Russell forces the reader into a number of different atmospheres throughout. I especially love the overtly bright colors of the prison zombies, who never seem truly threatening. They almost look like joke villains, which works perfectly to aid the story’s satire.

Final Thoughts: HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1

While far from perfect, HACK/SLASH RESURRECTION #1 is an entertaining read. I enjoyed my time traipsing around Cassandra Hack’s head and learning more about her crazy messed up life. The low action of the story manages to give readers a glimpse into Hack’s retirement life, and immediately, we understand that she can’t make it work. Howard et al. manage to craft a tale that is witty, satiric and all-around as cheesy as the best/worst horror flicks. This comic is not for every reader, but some will fall into the wonderful groove of this series.

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One Comment

  1. Rob Hernandez

    November 10, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    It’s first run was great

    Reply

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