Hack/ Slash # 19
“Closer part II”
Story: Tim Seeley; Art: Kevin Mellon; Colors: Mark Englert; Letters: Crank!; Design: Sean K. Dove; Edits: Mike O’Sullivan
The three-part “Closer” continues with the demonic Kuma’s quest to eliminate Cassie Hack and Pooch, who she sees as a traitor to the Neflords. Pooch tries to fend off Kuma while the now one-armed Kyle’s life hangs in the balance. Pooch draws Kuma away from Kyle, Chris, and Lisa. During all this, Cassie and Georgia are sharing intimate time together at last, stopping just short of sex, and Vlad sulks at a bar where he is ribbed by some rednecks but contains his anger, recognizing it as not directed towards them but that it springs from being without Cassie.
After a protracted and valiant struggle, Pooch is finally defeated but left alive by Kuma, while Chris and Lisa attempt to save Kyle. Kuma demands Lisa replace one of tusks that broke off during her struggle with Pooch, but Kyle uses the tusk to impale the Neflord. After a further attack from Kuma, Kyle is dying but sacrifices himself to destroy Kuma.
Cassie and Vlad have a brief, frank talk about Cassie’s contemplation of a new life. Unfortunately, her old life continues to haunt her as the kindly old psychic Muffy Joworski, a past ally of Cassie’s from the “Tub Club” storyline, has related to the police dreams and visions she has had that point to Cassie being responsible for a series of murders. This issue concludes with the slasher-slaying man called Samhain from earlier issues dispatching a victim. Afterwards, the occasional one-page “Lovebunny & Mr. Hell” strip, written and drawn by Tim Seeley, makes an appearance. While amusing, this strip really just reads like Seeley satirically blowing off steam about his experiences in the comics industry.
This issue’s art, by Kevin Mellon, was nice – not as beautiful to look at as Emily Stone’s or Rebekah Isaacs’ – but Mellon is a fine storyteller, and is complemented well by Mark Englert’s colours, which are still perhaps a mite too dark and almost drab at times. I look forward to Englert tackling the new storylines ahead to see just what his range as a colorist really is. Cover-wise, I won the lottery this time with the variant cover by Tim Seeley and Wes Dzioba, a great image rendered in a style redolent of a mash-up of Bruce Timm, Dame Darcy, Stephanie Buscema, and John Kricfalusi – high praise as I’m a fan of all of those artists.
In closing, it must be stated that the real star of this issue was Pooch, now officially my favourite Hack/ Slash character. His running thought captions as he battles Kuma and strives to protect his masters as well as feel good about himself despite his fallen status in the eyes of his creators, the Neflords, are wonderfully written and show a – dare I say it? – sweet and compassionate side to Tim Seeley’s writing that I’ve barely caught glimpses of in previous Hack/ Slash stories. I look forward to the conclusion of “Closer”.