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This series is more of an origin story for Cassandra Hack and begins before she becomes a Slasher-killer. Cassie has gone to live with foster parents after her mother turned into a Slasher and killed a bunch of students that were picking on her at school. Cassie found out what her mom was doing and was forced to stop her... dead! This series begins with Cassie's mom in the process of killing two girls in the kitchen of the school. Even at a new school Cassie can't seem to escape being bullied. She's once again forced to kill her mom a second time, with a gun shot to the head.
Cassie saves one of her tormentors/mother's victims and then drives her mom's dead body back to the cemetery. The next morning Cassie's life returns to normal. She's pleasantly greeted by her step-mom and sent on her way by her step-dad. At school she feels the stares of the other kids and the concerned looks of the teachers.
Everyone is horrified when they found out what happened at the school, but most of the girls at the all girl academy only seem to care about themselves. As Cassie leaves school she's attacked by the friends of the deceased. They beat on her viciously and she lets them. She feels bad that her mom killed again because of her and so she lets these petite blondes beat the hell out of her. Afterwards, she stumbles home without words and without question her loving step-mom washes her up and takes care of her wounds. The evening moves on as Cassie watches TV with her step-dad, finally dropping her guard by leaning on him. She feels an over-whelming sense of comfort and home.
The next day it's wash, rinse and repeat. The girls come for her after school again, but this time Cassie brutalizes the leader of the pack. She tells the girl if she ever touches her again that she'll kill her. She decides that she can't stay with her foster parents anymore, that she can't have anyone close to her. She finds her calling in life and that's killing Slashers like her mom. She threatens her step-dad and tells him everything to say to social services then leaves the first place that's felt like home to her.
If you've never read the Hack/Slash series before then this is a great introduction to the world and the main character of Cassie Hack. Tim Seeley seems to finally understand the character he created back in 2004. The problem with the previous series is that although Cassie's origin was explained, the effects of the origin weren't. Now it's clear that Cassie has lived a troubled life and feels that she can save others from what's happened to her. This issue marked the first time that Cassie actually felt like a character and not some hot chick killing monster with T&A.
The problem with the story is that it messes with the time-line that Seeley established in the previous series and minis. He dates his material by adding a pop cultural reference to Twilight. Not only does it feel forced into the story, but it makes the believability of events happening before the other books less likely.
What is a huge success for the issue is the art. For once the interiors of the book are as good, if not better than the cover. Hack/Slash has a history of great covers but the interior art often times is flat and uninspired. This issue on the other hand is gorgeous to look at. Daniel Leister (Grimm Fairy Tales) captures Cassie as the beautiful yet damaged character she is. Leister draws striking supporting characters ranging in size and style; it's good to see that they're not all swimsuit models. His skill has quite the range which is perfect for the book. What he really nails is the gore and blood. Let's be honest what's a horror story without buckets of blood? Leister's gore is just right, not too extreme nor too timid. He keeps it tasteful to look at, but it doesn't dominate the page.
This is a great issue to mark Hack/Slash at Image Comics. Seeley and Leister mesh well together and take the character of Cassie to new heights. The only concern is where the series goes from here? This would have been the perfect issue to start the series completely over and hook in new readers. Unfortunately, what might end up happening is that old readers will be the only ones interested in new adventures. If Seeley truly wants a fresh start he should re-imagine the older stories to give Cassie somewhere new to go.
Story – 9.0
Plot – 9.0
Art – 9.0
Color – 10.0
Overall – 9.3
No Vlad in this series, which is great since the font they use when he talks is annoying. Follow Dustin on Twitter and let him know if Hack/Slash is a series here to stay or destined to leave.