1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 72: Hack/Slash, by Tim Seeley

I will freely admit that when I picked up the book (or rather the omnibus) of the first volume of Hack/Slash, it was because of the sultry, sexy, bad-ass goth chick that was on the cover. That said, I was hoping for more than I expected, and I got far less. At its best, Hack/Slash is masturbatory material for adolescent boys (or I suppose adults where applicable), at its worst it is clichéd, unoriginal, unimaginative narrative (and I use the term loosely) that is inconsistent, with shallow characters and back stories that were clearly never flushed out. Cassie Hack kills slashers (slashers are undead killers), though the series never explains how exactly to kill a member of the undead, the two protagonists seem to manage to do so by decapitation, or disembowelment, or merely by stabbing them in the chest with a machete. Dialogue is forced (in the first narrative one of the two protagonists asks the other why they do this, though any reader would generally assume that if you have made an agreement with another person to kill the undead, you would have likely shared the reasons for your mutual interested in killing). Cassie Hack’s story: she was unpopular because even though she had a smoking hot body, nobody wanted to talk to her because she had dark hair (?), while Vlad’s back story is that he was born deformed, abandoned, and raised in a basement by a butcher who made him work out. They of course met when she mistook him for a member of the undead. The motivation of the undead antagonists are flushed out about as well the back stories of the protagonists, and when the Cassie grapples with the fact that her life style brings those around her closer to danger, the narrative feels like a forced cliché. Every comic book hero goes through this struggle, and usually with an actual reason. Cassie reason: people she saved for the slashers have to be rescued a second time because slashers have attacked them again. Even the scenes of gore are unimaginative. Sharp objects protruding through somebody chest? Seen it. Sharp objects thrust into somebody’s eye? Seen it. Decapitation? Seen it. Voodoo magic that allows the antagonist swap bodies with the protagonist. Seen it. The only saving grace is the well drawn figures of women, and even that has been done far better and with more content by many others (read Frank Miller’s Sin City series if you like violence, sexy vixens and a narrative that actually has some meat on the bones and can be read alongside contemporary fiction). Needless to say: unimpressed.

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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