As a long time reader of the Hack/Slash series, it still astounds me how time and time again I find myself marveling at just how far Devil’s Dues little title has come since its inception in 2004. Since then Cassie Hack, and her cleaver wielding sidekick Vlad, have gone toe to toe with just about every baddy you can think of. From Chucky to Re-Animator, the duo sure does know how to keep busy. But in HACK/SLASH #28 Cassie and Vlad just might have found themselves in their oddest predicament yet: the world of Archie Comics!
From the second you flip over the cover this month you are met with Dan Parent’s signature style of artwork as we find ourselves instantly inside the world of Taber, who looks to be doing his best Quagmire impersonation peeping on Trish and Angela as they help each other get ready for a late night of skinny-dipping. Our buddy Taber soon realizes he is in over his head though when the girls take off their clothes, and instead of lifting a queue from a Friday the 13th film, decide to go more for something straight out of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Taber escapes and in a desperate cry for help calls into ‘Late Knight’ screaming about ‘gills for boobs’ and other normal everyday occurrences. Cassie and Vlad, who happen to be listening during the call, decide to go back to the town of Haverhill and check out the sushi problem.
Parent who has been the longtime illustrator of Archie as well as Felix the Cat and Disney Adventures, does a more than commendable job with the much more mature themes of Hack/Slash, not shying away from the blood and guts or the patented cleavage in every other panel. Leister and Parent trade off at several points during the issue (in fact there are two different covers for the issue, one by each respective artist) to differentiate the worlds of Taber’s wholesome brightly colored crayon box of a small town, and the dark gritty realism of Cassie and Vlad. Most of the issue takes place in Haverhill however, and all the usual suspects are here. Kind of.
I won’t spoil the rest just because the reveal of the perpetrator making everything go Little Mermaid in Haverhill was enough to make me drop the book and laugh for a good minute. In fact, even as ridiculous as Seeley’s dialogue has been in the past he seems to be well within his element here. At one point a character has his eyeball ripped out by another characters Alien-esque tongue right after making a very appreciated SpongeBob reference.
Everyone is in top form here. It really must serve as a testament to just how far the Hack/Slash product has come as a title in order to be able to reach across such genre lines. It’s one thing to crossover other horror vets into your story, but it’s another thing entirely to invade a world as obscure to the title as Archie. And it is for these reasons that Hack/Slash continues to be nothing but sheer, undiluted, pandering entertainment to its readers.