The mini-series telling the story of Cassie’s first ‘case’ is more than halfway over, and this issue explains what the rumors about Farmer Fig’s place are all about as Cassie struggles to fit in with the teens in her new home, while more teens are killed. The issue effectively sets up the final issue’s resolution to the plot, while also revealing more about Cassie’s character through her overwrought narration.
At first, it’s hard to get past Cassie’s narration, full of clichés or melodramatic seriousness, but it becomes apparent as the issue progresses that Tim Seeley has such a strong handle on her voice that he can write in that voice, while also demonstrating that it isn’t his voice. Cassie is in a dark place in her life as she struggles with being all alone and trying to fit in, but she lightens up as the issue progresses and she makes some friends. Her voice shifts after a party where she gets a chance to hang out with the other kids and is even told she’s cool. Of course, that makes her stumbling across one of her newfound friends being responsible for the deaths at Farmer Fig’s farm an even greater surprise.
While Seeley has a good handle on Cassie’s voice, his depiction of other teens is fairly simplistic and cliché. Few of the other characters offer any depth, except for one that gets significant time with Cassie. There’s never a sense of the rest as real people or as anything other than set pieces to be moved around, killed or otherwise. As well, the revelation of the truth about Farmer Fig’s farm is fairly goofy. That’s partly the point, but it’s so over-the-top that the comic loses all sense of danger by the end, making the cliffhanger lose some of its impact.
Daniel Leister’s art is a good fit for the series in many ways. His art is expressive and clear at conveying what’s happening. He handles facial expressions very well, like on the second page where he ably shows what Cassie’s feeling to another teen’s compliment or when she’s focused on her mission. Unfortunately, his line work and body language are very rough. Characters would often look awkward or identical to one another were it not for coloring to differentiate them.
“Hack/Slash: My First Maniac” #3 is a fun horror comic and it’s easy to see why the “Hack/Slash” series has such a strong following. Tim Seeley writes Cassie very well and makes it easy to root for her, while creating an entertaining case for her to deal with. This issue bridges the gap between her coming to town and next issue’s conclusion to the story. While underdeveloped in places, it’s definitely worth giving a look if you like horror, if you haven’t already.