Review – Nailbiter/Hack/Slash (one-shot) (Image Comics)

NailbiterHackSlash_OneShot-1 - CopyPublisher: Image Comics
Writer(s): Joshua Williamson, Tim Seeley
Artist(s): Mike Henderson, Emilio Laiso
Release Date: 4th March 2015

Given both series’ clear affection for the culture of the serial killer, it was surely only a matter of time before the worlds of Nailbiter and Hack/Slash collided. Well, wait no longer, slasher fans, because that time is now! Taking the form of a two-part flip book, with each creative team handling their own individual story, this one-shot lets us see what happens when Cassie Hack makes the journey to Buckeroo, Oregon – the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous serial killers.

The first story, from Nailbiter creative team Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson, delivers what we’ve been waiting for ever since this title was announced – Cassie Hack and Edward “Nailbiter” Warren, face to face. Granted, this is Warren a good couple of years before his eventual arrest, and he and Cassie actually end up working together to help apprehend a brutal serial killer the press has dubbed “Mister Fatal”, but Williamson makes sure to throw in all manner of sinister foreshadowing of the Warren we all know and ‘love’. A tightly scripted, self-contained story, this first chapter does a great job of merging these two worlds in a wholly believable way, enhancing both in the process. I’m not quite sure how much of a collaboration process there was between Williamson and Hack/Slash writer Tim Seeley on this project, but Williamson absolutely nails the characteristics and mannerisms of both Cassie and her partner Vlad, with the latter adding some brilliant moments of humour. Artist Henderson’s style is once again perfectly suited for both the serious moments and the more light-hearted ones, and the subtle differences he shows between Warren ‘then’ and Warren ‘now’ give the book a unique wrinkle. He also draws a mean Cassie Hack, it has to be said.

The second story, from the Hack/Slash partnership of Tim Seeley and Emilio Laiso, isn’t quite as intriguing as the first one. No Edward Warren here, as we instead see Cassie and Vlad lured back to Buckeroo following a tip regarding Cassie’s mother. What follows is essentially an issue of Hack/Slash – albeit one set in the familiar surroundings of Williamson’s serial killer melting pot. Don’t get me wrong though, this is still a strong issue, and features Cassie and Vlad confronting a powerful adversary who is very much in the (gloriously tongue-in-cheek) Hack/Slash mould, but there just wasn’t quite enough of an interaction with the world of Nailbiter to really get my saliva glands firing, unfortunately. Laiso does a solid job of recreating Buckeroo, though, including several familiar landmarks and faces, but after Williamson’s strong opening chapter, I was really hoping to see the Hack/Slash artist tackle Warren himself – or, more than a few panels of cameo, anyway.

Overall, while it doesn’t necessarily add anything significant to either of the worlds, this is still a deliciously inventive collaboration between two of the top horror creative teams going today, and should be viewed as pretty much an essential purchase for fans of either series.

Rating: 4/5.

576682_510764502303144_947146289_nThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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