Review - Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"This place, it smells of puke and perpetual desperation."

Cassie Hack's reputation isn't as strong as Vampirella's, but that doesn't mean the former is any less formidable than the latter. The two have yet to cross paths before, but leave it to a cannibalistic queen in Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1 from Dynamite Entertainment to change that. The issue is written by Shawn Aldridge, illustrated by Rapha Lobosco, colored by Chris O'Halloran and lettered by Crank!.

The Vegas strip heats up as Cassie Hack and her companion Vlad are on the trail of a deadly slasher and meet the lovely, yet lethal Vampirella. The team-up event you've been waiting for is a high stakes game of chance when they have to take on The Queen of Hearts!

Both Cassie Hack and Vampirella typically dabble in events that delve into the supernatural which is what makes Aldridge's premise in Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1 all the more believable. Both leading ladies are in Las Vegas for their own reasons, but the arrival of a villain as brutal as the Queen of Hearts brings them together on the same path. Getting to their first encounter isn't hurried as Aldridge spends much of the issue getting readers acquainted with Cassie. The dialogue throughout the issue is pretty sharp and befitting two characters who don't take flack from anyone. There's also just the right amount of paranormal peppered throughout the issue to remind you that what you're reading is pretty far out there, but Aldridge doesn't let it get ridiculous.

Lobosco's artwork is very expressive, as primarily evidenced by the wide range of emotions Cassie displays through her varied facial expressions. The characters are drawn with an emphasis on pretty sharp angles and medium-weight lines. The empty gutters afford greater attention to the action in the panels which Lobosco effectively fills with an abundance of lights and darks to represent both sides of Las Vegas. The lack of gutters is especially useful when it comes to showcasing events later on when Cassie is investigating a darkened hotel room. O'Halloran's colors live mostly in the reds and blacks--both of which have come to define both Cassie Hack and Vampirella.

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1 is a pretty fun and slick first issue. Cassie Hack is rarely out of her element, but when faced with Vampirella she might have to be a little more creative. Aldridge's pacing is spot-on as the reader gets to enjoy a night in Las Vegas alongside Cassie in an organic way. Lobosco's illustrations are a great fit for the tone as they handle the serious and the somewhat silly pretty effortlessly. Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1 doesn't require the reader to be familiar with either characters to enjoy it, although it does require a sense of the macabre at times.

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1 is in stores October 4.