Review by Frank Plowright
Is Hack/Slash the place for superheroes? Perhaps there’s comfort in superheroes being just more meat for the slashers in Cassie Hack’s world. Over earlier graphic novels Cassie and Vlad have become increasingly plagued by the Black Lamp Society, who are unleashing all the slashers, or paladins as they refer to them, that Cassie then kills. Cassie learned a little more about them in New Blood, Old Wounds, and the prologue chapter reveals that there are so few superheroes left largely because the Black Lamp Society’s assassin, known as the Pumpkin Killer, dealt with most. We learn early that they’re now also setting about a new generation of superheroes, while the few survivors from back in the day try to warn them off.
Tim Seeley produces a one chapter introduction to the title story, pulling in extra artists to produce faked comics as if from the 1940s and the 1970s, written and drawn in the style of the times, and featuring stand-ins for a very famous superhero with a teenage sidekick. For the better informed, Seeley also makes good use of an out of copyright super character last seen in the mad 1940s comics of Fletcher Hanks (see recommendations).
To lure the killer out, Cassie and Vlad have to pose as superheroes, so welcome Sister Sacrilege and Altar Boy. There are still a couple of subplots, but otherwise Super Sidekick Sleepover Slaughter is a return to the tongue in cheek Hack/Slash of its earliest days, following the cheap film template of gathering a lot of people in a confined area and slaughtering them. The difference is that Seeley has the equivalent of a massive budget in the form of primary artist Daniel Leister. There’s a superhero slickness to his pages, very much informed by the Image/Top Cow comics of the 1990s,
Finishing off this collection is Seeley donating his creations to web comic creator Drew Edwards for a teaming with his Halloween Man character. It fits thematically with the remaining content for also featuring superheroes, but despite the presence of a zombie hero and Lovecraftian monsters the idea of Cassie and Vlad in a squeaky clean technological paradise doesn’t work as well as their own settings. David Baldeón’s art is nice, mind.
Everything here is also found in the third Hack/Slash Omnibus, and chronologically the next release was My First Maniac, not included among the numbered collections, which continue with Torture Prone.