Comics, Reviews

Hack/Slash: Back to School #1 Review: Class is in Session

Pull up a seat and dive into the all-new Hack/Slash series created by acclaimed cartoonist Zoe Thorogood!

Hack/Slash: Back to School #1 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:07 AM

Hack/Slash: Back to School #1

Hack/Slash: Back to School #1 Full Cover

Writer: Zoe Thorogood

Artist: Zoe Thorogood

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: October 17, 2023

Format: Single-issue

Zoe Thorogood brings a fresh spin to the bloody world of Hack/Slash with her phenomenal character writing and captivating art. It's rare to read a comic that effortlessly balances its emotional and ultra-violent moments.

Just a few months shy of its 20th anniversary in comics, Hack/Slash is back with a new series, and it's bloodier than ever! But this new tale offers something different now with superstar creator Zoe Thorogood at the helm. The acclaimed writer/artist puts her distinct spin on the beloved series by showing a new side to the adventures of Cassie Hack and Vlad. As a big fan of Thorogood’s work, I’ve been anticipating this comic’s release since its announcement earlier this year. Did it live up to the hype? What bold new places does the creator have in store for one of Image Comics’ cult classics? Let’s get to my review and find out!

Cassie Hack and VladImage: Image Comics


Homeless and down on her luck, Cassie Hack ponders her next move alongside her new “friend,” Vlad. But just as Cassie’s life couldn’t get any lower, a slasher dressed in a bunny costume terrorizes the diner she and Vlad are eating in. As much as she wanted to stop the crazed killer herself, flashbacks from the night she killed her insane, zombified mother froze Cassie in place. It takes the arrival of Darla Ritz, slasher hunter extraordinaire, to save Cassie from being the next victim.

Seeing Darla in action opens Cassie’s eyes to a world she didn’t know existed. A world she believes she’ll fit right into. Tired of being the victim in her own story, Cassie steps up to join Darla. So begins Cassie’s new life as a slasher hunter in training as part of the Hunters for Hire Academy for Girls.

A slasher killer strikesImage: Image Comics


Hack/Slash: Back to School delivered a killer debut issue (pun absolutely intended). It’s a captivating reintroduction to the strange life of Cassie Hack. But instead of continuing the original series, this new iteration revamps the story in its own way, with the most notable change being the introduction of the Hunters for Hire Academy. It’s giving a “Something is Killing the Children” vibe with its concept of an organization focused on killing the things that go bump in the night. Putting comparisons aside, the Academy gives the story an engaging setting to start fresh with Cassie's journey of becoming a ruthless slasher hunter. This issue already gives a taste of the schoolyard shenanigans by introducing some of the more outlandish members of the student body. As fun as it will be seeing the new weirdos Cassie faces off in her missions, getting acquainted with the rest of the Academy will be one hell of a ride as well.

Having the story be a fresh start makes it the perfect jumping-on point. Whether you’re a longtime reader of the series, aware of Hack/Slash but never got into it, or someone simply looking for a crazy horror comic to dive into, this issue gives you everything you need to pick it up and have fun. The scene that explores Cassie’s backstory is so emotionally gripping and stylishly illustrated that you get a strong grasp of her character in just a few pages. Zoe Thorogood did an incredible job of modernizing Cassie and the world of Hack/Slash for new readers while keeping the edge and campiness that made the original series so iconic for diehard fans.

Thorogood’s art is expectedly phenomenal in this comic. Her work gives the Hack/Slash world of slashers and psychopaths a vibrant new look that’s endlessly stylish and viciously gruesome. All the character designs have a fashionable flair that makes each of them stand out, with the murder grandma Darla Ritz being a personal favorite of mine. Then, just as you take in how great everything looks, the comic hits you with horrific moments that show you it’s not messing around. Not even kids are safe in this story. It says a lot about the art when you can’t help but be in awe by how it makes the gore and bloodshed look especially beautiful. Thorogood has a twisted mind, and I am here for it.

Cassie is welcomed to the academyImage: Image Comics

Final Thoughts

With its awesome mix of teenaged drama and ultra-violence, Hack/Slash: Back to School #1 is the perfect horror comic for the Halloween season. This debut issue introduces readers to an all-new Cassie Hack who’s ready to steal hearts and bust some heads. You don’t want to be late for this one, as Zoe Thorogood is putting on a masterclass on how to create one very fun and captivating comic.

Why You Should Read Hack/Slash: Back to School

  • Zoe Thorogood’s art is stylishly gruesome.
  • It’s the perfect place to jump into the story of Hack/Slash.
  • The character designs are top-tier throughout the whole issue.
  • There’s gore and lots of it.
TAGGED: Image Comics