Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1 by Tim Seeley and Various Artists

Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1 by Tim Seeley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoy this series as it’s quite simply good fun. The protagonist, Cassie Hack is the survivor of a slasher attack (slashers being the name given to the typical/classic horror baddie who goes around killing people/teens).

It utilises and comments on typical horror genre tropes (such as teens being killed) and serves it up with a good dosing of action, comedy and elements of horror. There’s a nice mix of original and licensed villains used, for example Father Wrath and Chucky, respectively. Generally, the focus of the story is on the action but it does a nice job of sometimes exploring the psychology of our two protagonists, which includes ideas like whether they’re at risk of being like the monsters they hunt, idea of having a normal life, as well as friends and family.

As this is an omnibus, bringing together several story arcs and comics, the artwork sometimes varies between them depending on who was working on it. I generally like the artwork in this Volume and find the varying styles can bring a different feel or character to the story it’s depicting.

As with many graphic novels there is a section at the back of the book with sketches and notes along with alternate cover art and poster art. There are a couple nice addition with this book though, which include; profiles on each of the Slashers featured in Volume 1, a page outlining (with pictures) Tim’s original design inspiration for Cassie and information on the Play version of Cassie/Hack that was performed by The New Millennium Theatre Company, in 2005.

I highly recommend Hack/Slash to anyone who is a fan of horror, strong female protagonists and simple fun story telling that has three dimensional characters. It has a nice mix of action, humour and psychological seriousness to keep the reader interested.

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Aphrodite IX Rebirth Vol 1 by Matt Hawkins and Stjepan Sejic

Aphrodite IX: Rebirth Volume 1 TP (Aphrodite IX: Rebirth)Aphrodite IX: Rebirth Volume 1 TP by Matt Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There were two things that caught my eye about this comic, which encouraged me to read it. The first was the premise, two nations, one genetically enhanced and the other cybernetically enhanced at war with one another. The second was the artwork by Stjepan Sejic which I have been a fan of since reading Sunstone.

This is premise of the story is that the human race has split into two major nations, one which abhors death and therefore seeks to extend life through cybernetic enhancements, while the second nation accepts death as a part of life and are more focused on genetic enhancements and modification. Typically they hate one another and are constantly at war. Caught in the middle of this is an ancient female assassin named Aphrodite IX and her handler.

The story is fine, it’s not entirely new or groundbreaking however I did find myself drawn into it and therefore finished the book very quickly. One issue is the fact she has a green dot on her face that she can’t alter despite being able to alter her appearance in other ways. This is a problem as she is supposed to be a spy/assassin and a large green dot on her face is rather revealing. It would have made more sense to put it on an area of her body that is easier to cover up.

As I mentioned at the start, one of the major reasons for wanting to read this comic was due to Stjepan Sejic. His art is somewhat different in this comic to some of his others, however it is still beautifully done.

I think if you go into this comic with the expectation of a simple action story with some interesting ideas and beautiful artwork then you should enjoy it. I know I did, and I will no doubt get round to reading Volume 2 at some point.

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Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Right One InLet the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve not read many vampire novels in recent years, however this is easily one of the best I have ever read. The story is very dark and touches upon some very sensitive matters, that some people might find very difficult to read; including sociopathy, psychopathy, relationships and paedophilia).

I think one of the best parts about this book is that it’s a very intimate tale about a few people living in a small town in Sweden in the 80’s, however there’s this added element of a vampire being in their midst.

One of the most interesting parts of the writing, is how a twist in the tale is handled after it has occurred. The language used to convey the protagonist’s view on the twist is interesting and well done. I can’t say too much without spoiling it for anyone who has never read the book, or seen the Swedish film adaptation (The American adaptation skips this element of the story completely).

The translation of the book from Swedish to English has been done expertly well by Ebba Segerberg, I don’t remember noticing any errors or issues in the writing.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading vampire novels that are dark, predatory with a deeper reflection on society and human interaction.

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Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean

Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious EarthBatman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a peculiar Batman read, one that I felt didn’t really go anywhere. The story is split in two, part of it explains how the founder of Akrham Asylum turned his home into the Asylum and the other half shows Batman entering the Asylum to quell an uprising by the inmates. The former part I found interesting while the latter was just a bit uneventful. Various characters make an appearance such as the Joker, Two-Face, Clayface and Zeus but none of them really do a whole lot. Batman wanders the Asylsum for a bit and then leaves. I suppose the most interesting part is it shows how Batman feels on a bad day, the fear that has driven him his whole life and whether he is just like those he fights against.

The artwork is very strange, and works well to an extent in conveying the insanity of various characters. It does an excellent job of depicting The Joker in a much creepier and more horrifying light, which the character very much is. The use of different lettering styles for different characters is also interesting, however it did at times makes dialogue very difficult to read, especially from The Joker. I had to really focus on the lettering with those to work out what he was saying.

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