Hack/Slash: Girls Gone Dead (Comic Book)
Temptation doesn't run any hotter than in Florida (well, except for maybe in L.A.). Bare flesh is basking in the UV rays all along the state's coast and during Spring Break there's mucho sin to spare. This is the unusual backdrop Tim Seeley sets his sophomore entry in the Hack/Slash series against, but truthfully it's not so odd when you realize that Spring Break is fertile breeding ground for slasher activity! And that's just what Seeley's caffeine-free heroine, Cassie Hack, finds out when she and her behemoth monosyllabic partner, Vlad, take on a religious zealot who digs on introducing the word of God to young folk by burying a crucifix in their noggin'.
Smarter than the usual slasher fare, but certainly not any less wet with the red stuff than your favorite cinematic massacre, Hack/Slash is popcorn entertainment for worshippers of pulp-based carnage, except there's no greasy residue and you don't have to sling around that oft-repeated term, "Guilty Pleasure," to describe it. For the uninitiated, Hack/Slash got its start in the one-shot book Euthanized in which we were introduced to Cassie, a gal who had no choice but to put her mother down because she was a slasher (known as The Lunch Lady); Cassie now travels the country looking for similar undead killers. Where Euthanized delved into Cassie's origins and touched on her growing concerns that her mother's bloodlust may be flowing in her own veins, Girls Gone Dead reveals another emotional shade to a girl whose attire can get "none more black."
It's subtle character touches that elevate Seeley's latest Hack/Slash chapter above the horsecrap Hollywood was churning out in the '80s. Furthermore, Seeley's showing that he's got a grasp on the series' tone which comfortably fluctuates between the absurd (see the panel where Cassie barges into a hotel room with midgets getting their S&M freak on) and sincere. If the dialogue gets a little shaky or cheeseball, it's executed knowingly with a nod to the genre. Seeley's work is consistent...even if the art between Euthanized and Girls Gone Dead is not. Federica Manfredi steps in succeeding Stefano Caselli (who illustrated Euthanized and supplies a pin-up this issue) with some sharp, immaculately clean pencil work. Like Caselli, she makes Cassie an absolute eye-pleaser and she knows where to visually position the reader for maximum slasher mayhem which arrives quite often throughout Girls Gone Dead's forty-eight pages. Can I get an Amen for that!
3 1/2 out of 5
Hack/Slash: Girls Gone Dead
(Devil's Due Publishing)
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Federica Manfredi