Thursday morning quaterbacking

This won’t be a true TMQ post as I have not read all of this week’s offerings.  Lots of good stuff from Marvel including X-Factor #34, Captain America #41 and Incredible Hercules #120. At any rate, here’s a review of this week’s Hack Slash #15.

The title is a bit of a misnomer because Cassie and Vlad don’t ever actually meet the Re-Animator, at least not in this first part of the arc. That isn’t to say that the Dr. West character isn’t used to maximum creepy effect.

Seeley once again manages to impress with his ability to tackle multiple subplots concurrently while making them all interesting. The comic opens with West and his “assistant” Dr. Hack scrounging up road kill off a highway in New Mexico, unaware that they are being watched by Cassie and Vlad. The reader gets a very good recap of Dr. West’s scientific know-how, for those who aren’t very familiar with the events from the Re-Animator film franchise.

This is followed up by a very funny and endearing exchange between Vlad and Cassie which turns serious when Vlad realizes that Cassie is getting close to finding her dad by eliminating the prospects on her list. Having already established a rapport between these two central characters, Seeley is left free to explore the subtle nuances of their close friendship. This character moment is balanced with plenty of bizarre occurrences from Dr. West’s lab in which such creepy crawlers as a scorpion with an eyeball and a human finger on for a tail are common visual sight gags.

By employing flashbacks representing Dr. Hack’s memories, Seeley establishes the crucial back story of Cassie’s mom and how her relationship with Hack was first established. When Dr. Hack was a prominent psychologist conducting studies, he appears to have gotten too close to one of his subjects. It’s a fascinating read whose poignant retelling is the backbone in which the entire comic’s story hangs on and this is made all the more suspenseful by the fact Cassie is very close to finding out who her real father is.

Another subplot intertwined from last issue into this month’s installment is the otherworld demonic Nef which are planning to invade our dimension. This development is only given one page in the current comic and very little gets advanced from last issue.

However, the narrative style of the entire story is very good so when the final cliffhanger inevitably arrives, it is one of those rare times when it works with maximum effectiveness and leaves the reader with a tangible sense of longing for the next installment of the story arc.

This is a tribute to Seeley’s great sense of pacing and to the interesting developments currently being presented by the writer. Suddenly, Cassie’s life has been turned upside down and it will be interesting to see if she lets her guard down and becomes vulnerable as a result of making an emotional connection. Vlad was right on the money when he hinted this was one of Cassie’s biggest fears. This is something we, as readers, are not accustomed to seeing from this confident, emotionally detached character.

The artwork by artist Emily Stone and colorist Mark Englert is, once more, solid. I especially like the technique of framing the characters employed in the final page. This is another chapter in the Hack/Slash saga and another example of a consistently great comic book.

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