Off the Shelf — Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain

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Nutshell:  It’s great to see Cassie Hack back in action, and her new crew of creators have done a good job throwing her into the ol’ mix.  If you’re looking for Slashers, you’ll be disappointed, but if monsters are your thing you’re in luck.  If there’s more coming I’m up for it, but more Ocky backstory, ‘kay? He’s a character I want to know better. Grade: B+

Story: Cassie Hack has done her best to save the world from “Slashers”, or what we’d call serial killers (both living and dead.)  But it’s taken a helluva toll (seewhatIdidthere), and she’s out.  Now a bounty hunter nabbing lowlifes, she meets Delroy, a man who asks for her help.  And Cassie needs to figure out whether or not she’s ready to get back to what she does best. Because an old god is ready to be reborn, and it’ll take someone to Kiss It and set things right.

Thoughts:  Son of Samhain is a very tempting title for folks already invested in the H/S universe. But those who hope to see Cassie reunite with…well, the survivors of her former hunting days will be disappointed. Don’t worry, it’s not 100% new; there is a Poochy sighting, thank goodness.  But to quote writer Michael Moreci, “there’s no going back”.  So while Georgia may still be on Cassie’s mind, readers not up on their H/S history will have no trouble following along.

New characters!  Let me show you them.  First, there’s Delroy, the man who asks for Cassie’s help with what looks like a Kree monster uprising.  Then there’s October Bourne, aka “Ocky”.  An eight-year-old ginger that’s one adorable tyke.  And a damn bloodthirsty one too.  See: title.  Looks like we’re seeing the beginning of a new Hack/Slash group.  I’m 100% on board with that.  And there are more new second-string characters, including my favorite, Luis — a friend of Delroy with his own strange story — who looks a lot like Danny Trejo.  Win!

Gotta admit this overall “underground monster god cult” mythology was the weakest bit of this book, perhaps because Thanos Rising is still so firmly stuck in my head.  Yes yes, there are weaklings that become their own kind of gods, you go show ’em, rah rah.  But after awhile all the redshirt monsters that Cassie et al. turn to dog food become so much blurred ink.  It’s fun looking at K. Michael Russel’s colors & Emilio Laiso’s art, but for a comeback story I was hoping for more Haunted Cassie.  Meh; that can come later I guess, as this miniseries was probably more geared to bringing new readers to the title.  But what had me hooked into the story was Moreci’s way of getting me to quickly invest in these characters.  It’s something that the OG crew did well, and I’m gladd to see Moreci has that same deft touch.

I’ve also got some love for the look of Samhain.  I LOVE the exposition letters!  Red boarders, beige background, black ink.  Nice, work, Crank! (exclamation mark part of the name.  Though also fully deserved in this instance.)  Stefano Caselli’s covers are fantastic.  And ooh looky; there’s a sketchbook at the end of the book filled with Caselli & Emilio Laiso goodness. Nice.  Special note: the Brian Crowley designed Vlad tattoo is awesome.  *niff*  But wait, there’s more; a pitch/series outline by Michael Moreci, which fans of the series and anyone intrigued by the whole how-this-stuff-gets-made thing will enjoy.

Moreci works on Hoax Hunters too, so can a Hack/Hunters crossover be far behind?  Damn I hope so.  I’m dying to see what happens when Vlad and Murder meet. Meanwhile, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the Hack/Nailbiter crossover oneshot that’s on the way to stores next month.  I enjoyed the hell out of Nailbiter, so adding Cassie to a town full of serial killers?  Cannot.  Wait.

Subscribe or Shelve:  If this new Hack/Slash gets picked up for a monthly publication joint, it’s definitely worth a look.  There was a tease at the end of Samhain that hints at a bigger evil to come.  I’m up for riding shotgun.

Publication 411: Gathers the 5-issue miniseries Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain.  Scheduled to hit shelves January 27, 2015.

[NOTE: I received a copy of this title pre-publication via Netgalley.  I received no compensation for my review.  Monsters.  Can’t live with ’em.  Can’t expect a baseball bat covered in nails.]

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