Another great collection of stories.
Oh, you need more?
Well, most of my early statements about Hack/Slash from my volume one review remain true. The premise is great with poor Cassie Hack attempting to track down and kill as many undead slashers as humanly possible.
The series premise that sufficiently evil serial killers rise from the dead to become zombie murderers simultaneously is explored further and is set aside frequently enough that it never becomes tiresome. In this volume, Cassie Hack fights Lovecraftian abominations and ordinary serial killers in addition to Slashers. This helps keep everything fresh.
Despite the fact Hack/Slash is a comic book series with a vested interest in the status quo, we get some character development from both Vlad and Cassie both throughout this volume. Some of these changes, I honestly did not see coming and worked surprisingly well.
Vlad starts discovering he is, deformities aside, a perfectly average guy with desires and this leads to some hilarious moments where he throws Cassie for a loop. I won't spoil any but poor Cassie's reaction to Vlad's desire to see Bikini Car Wash is simultaneously hilarious and heartwarming. Even so, despite looking like Jason Voorhees, he remains the emotional and moral center of the pair.
Cassie, for her part, is struggling to deal with the fact she has an abundance of friends. Cassie Hack, having been a loner for virtually her entire life, has difficulty even comprehending it let alone taking advantage. We also get a really surprising revelation Cassie is gay (or at least bisexual) and this is handled in an unusually sensitive manner. Certainly, she doesn't know what to make of it.
One thing a lot of modern comic writers don't know how to do is create supporting cast members. I am particularly fond of the character Margeret "Georgia" Crump who is the first genuinely nice "normal" person Cassie Hack has probably ever met in her life. The contrast in their character is tremendous and watching their potential romance blossom, collapse, and spark again is a source of great drama.
This is the volume where the first main series really begins so we have fewer crossovers than before, which is a good thing. The series has a chance to establish its own voice in this volume and some of its ideas are great. Others...not so much. Overall, though, I was very impressed with the work and enjoyed all of the stories within.
My favorite stories of the volume include Cassie Hack investigating allegations of devil worship in the music industry (which is true, for once), the Tub Club that manages to take an exploitation premise (lesbian vampire cult!) in a surprisingly sensitive direction, and the Suicide Girls crossover with the comic which is so ridiculous it's hilarious. I kid you not, there's also an unofficial Hack/Slash crossover with Archie. That, much like Archie meets the Punisher, was gut-bustingly hilarious.
There's some stories I didn't much care for in this volume. The long-awaited reunion between Jack Hack and his daughter isn't all that interesting. Sadly, even the inclusion of Doctor Herbert West from the Re-Animator franchise or the return of Cassie Hack's mother doesn't do much to inject life into a fairly dull story. There's also a story where Cassie has to deal with a group of feral kids I wasn't too fond of--I really didn't know what sort of message the story was trying to convey and it just felt grim for the sake of grimness.
Overall, though, this volume just continues to impress me with the potential of the Hack/Slash series. It's a comic book with lots of humor and drama potential that it exploits to its fullest. I recommend people pick up the second volume, even if the cover is as unpleasant in its own way as the original one.