Pullbox Reviews Hack/Slash: Back to School #2 (of 4)- When life hands you Slashers, stab ’em in the eye with scissors!

Cassie Hack has gone back to school…slasher-hunting school! Meet Darla, an ex-scream queen dedicated to turning young girls into Killer Killing Machines by way of the mysterious Agency—and she’s just in time as a host of internet slashers attack!

Welcome to Darla Ritz’s Academy For Girls, Cassie Hack. Hope you survive the experience.

Still getting her bearings after meeting movie scream queen turned slayer of slayers Darla Ritz, Cassie is at a bit of a loss. Maybe all she needs is some work to focus on. Luckily (?) there’s a new Slasher on the Academy’s radar & Cassie is up for her first team effort with schoolmates Sam & Boo.

I’ll admit it, I wasn’t sure about a new creative behind Hack/Slash. I’m a purist, stuck in my ways and not always a fan when a thing that I love changes hands. But I did some homework and I learned a few things. First off, Zoe Thorogood’s artwork is phenomenal I kid you not! Second, I think she might actually be Cassie Hack. You doubt me? Check out her cosplay for NYCC23…

So let’s get down to it. Two issues in and Hack/Slash: Back to School is one of my favorite new comics. Zoe Thorogood hasn’t dulled any of the edge ground into the series by Tim Seeley… which is saying something about a comic about slashers. What she has done is taken the popular characters of Cassie and Vlad out of their accustomed niche, being one step removed from homelessness, and dropped them into the shared community of a school for girls. It’s a new situation for loner Cassie… Vlad’s doing just fine, making friends and learning new dance moves… and it opens a new road, both for the weary traveler and for her writer. Thorogood is a good hand at taking a subtle approach to Cassie’s personal issues, quietly laying some groundwork in this issue, and then moving on to the slaying.

Fans of Seeley’s approach to drawing the world of Hack/Slash may be surprised by Thorogood’s style and its shades of manga infused characters. And again, longtime fans of the series might be rolling their eyes and thinking that Thorogood may be dialing back the violence… and again, those people would be wrong. Take a swipe down to the preview pages below. Page 3 has a man stabbed through the head, another slashed in half, and woman’s eye slowly cut out. Now think about the fact that later in the issue, there are images which may be less over the top but are way more disturbing than that. There’s almost a detectable sense of glee as Thorogood lays on the blood and viscera, not at all flinching away from putting it on display or hiding it between panels.

Speaking as an established fan, I feel pretty good about the new hands at the helm. Zoe Thorogood has an obvious love for her new sandbox and a talent for making it all work. We’re two issues in on this four-issue run, and my only real concern is that I’m not so sure I’ll be happy when Zoe moves on to bigger deals.

I do kinda miss the baseball bat…

Final Score: 12/13

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