Wow four weeks in row, this is a record. This week we are going to be following some really, really violent buggers. But they have good intentions, honest.
Writer: Greg Pak
Pencils: Cory Smith & Philip Tan
Colours: Romulo Fjardo Jr
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Number of issues: 12
What happens when Weapon X get tired of trying to recapture Wolverine, Sabretooth and the rest of their successfully failed experiments? They decide to Frankenstein together a new living weapon using adamantium nanobots and Hulk DNA all inside the body of a decorated, US special forces turned mercenary killing machine.
Retaining all of his skills and most importantly his mind, Clayton Cruz is on the run from Weapon X when he stumbles upon a Roxxon plot. Mirroring the plot of The Incredible Hulk #181, Weapon H faces off against a Wendigo. Not just any Wendigo, but an Ur-Wendigo - one that grows ever larger as it ingests some of H’s flesh and blood. Using his Hulk strength and Adamantium claws, H is able to kill the Wendigo, but not before series big bad Daniel Agger, evil billionaire CEO of Roxxon, decides that he wants to hire H.
What follows is a series of short adventures whereby H travels across America trying to escape Roxxon while protecting his family. For all his skill and power, he is actually a failure at this and ends up in the employ of Roxxon, at the behest of Captain America. Roxxon, in their quest for more cources of energy have tapped into Weirdworld and unleashed an apex predator species that seems to bear some relation to the Skrulls intent on invading earth.
The twelve issues move at an incredible pace, sometimes too fast as there is not enough time to explore any of the characters, especially Dr. Ella Sterling or Blake, the human/brood hybrid. Man-Thing even makes an experience, but we never find out how he was pulled from the Nexus of All Realities and made a slave of Roxxon.
This is a quite disappointing as Greg Pak is the writer behind the very successful Planet Hulk and World War Hulk storylines. He even brings Korg back for the latter half of the series, a welcome return of the warbound, although anyone familiar with the New Zealand-accented rock man from the MCU will be sorely disappointed.
The art is dynamic, showcasing the action and violence without ever being gratuitous or too much like a series of panels designed to look good on a T-shirt or poster. The colours pop, especially once the characters travel to the colourful Weirdworld and H’s grey skin tone, reminiscent of the real Hulk’s first incarnation and his Joe Fixit personality, really stands out.
Clay’s character is your atypical Marvel tortured hero. An abused kid, who joins the army to find a purpose and strength and upon discharge becomes a mercenary who refuses to cross a line. While in battle, Clay is undeniably “the man” in every other aspect of his life - he is pretty much a failure. While he loves his wife and kids, he is not satisfied with that life, craving action and his attempts at keeping them safe by remaining anonymous are thwarted by his innate heroism. Clay is the only character to get any semblance of an arc, while his wife Sonia comes close when she develops, in short order, from a stressed out single parent to a bad*ss, gun-wielding tactical operations officer. The other characters, Blake the brood hybrid, Titania, and the spy Angel get short shrift in the characterisation stakes.
While ultimately fun and used to advance the villainous character of Daniel Agger (you’ll see more of him in Thor and the upcoming War of the Realms event), the book is a not as memorable as a book about a Hulk/Wolverine hybrid should be.
The series ended with issue 12, but was immediately followed up by Hulkverines, a series where Agger manipulates the recently resurrected Wolverine and Hulk to go after Weapon H.
Writer: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Emily Stone
Colours: Courtney Via
Publisher: Image Comics
Number of Volumes: 5 Omnibuses
Cassie Hack is not your typical goth girl. She is a hunter, the monster who hunts monsters. Cassie may look like your typical slasher film victim, beautiful and teenaged, but she is anything but. As the daughter of the infamous Lunch Lady, she is driven to hunt down and kill (again) the undead monsters known as Slashers.
Revelling in the slasher film of the ‘80s aesthetic, Cassie travels across the country with Vlad, a gentle giant, seeking out these undead, thematic mass murderers in order to kill them all over again.
Seeley has an insane amount of fun playing with slasher film tropes; the sexy cheerleader being led into the woods by a killer and the jump scare pop up of the villain just as the heroes think he has been killed. The series matures from the usual “bad girl” tropes so prevalent in the mid- to late ‘90s into something much more subversive and interesting as Cassie and Vlad mature and explore their motivations, and the toll that constant hunting takes on them. Hack/Slash does not reach the heights of his horror/sci-fi series Revival. Despite that, it is a fun series showcasing some interesting ideas inspired by films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The art matures just as the writing does. Initially it is a bit raw, not amateurish by any means, but not as polished as something published by the big-name publishers. The same goes for the lettering, with Cassie’s dialogue in particular standing out as strange. The lettering looks like that used to show a demonic or monstrous accent, but Cassie is neither of those, she is just a normal human pushed to do the inhuman.
Hack/Slash had a bit of an uneven publishing schedule, but that actually helps the book mature. It has recently been revived with that superhero/horror relic of the ‘90s Evil Ernie and the Chaos! Characters. While I was never a fan of that series and it’s over-reliance on shock value and Bad Girls, have you seen the posters for Lady Death? the mashup up of these characters could be what brings these characters into the limelight.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
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