By Dustin Cabeal
Slashermania is one of those stories that most people will either love or hate. Very few readers will find themselves in the middle with this reviewer. There’s so much I enjoyed about Slashermania, but then also an incredible amount that annoyed or frustrated me. I teeter tottered back and forth the entire time I was reading. That may work for some people, but that’s not a great reading experience for me.
The premise is an amalgamation of a lot of properties; the most obvious being slasher movies. There’s a flair of Battle Royale in there, and you can even go as far as to include Running Man and an ever so slight sliver of The Purge. Each year a bunch of rich people pay slashers to go nuts on a camp ground and then they’re rewarded actual trophies and prizes.
Since this is at a camp, they should be teens, right? The campers all look like they’re in their 20s, their late 20s. There’s also an extravagant amount of characters, so many that it’s impossible to keep track of who’s who. The story attempts to contain your focus on just a few, but that’s quickly lost. The main problem with the story is that there’s no build up with the campers. There are some quick introductions on a bus, a couple of throwaway scenes setting up a few pointless moments that appear in the comic and then it's off to the murder spree. There’s no reason to care about anyone; it’s not even a believable camp setting in that we only ever meet one camp counselor who has an innuendo induced conversation with one of the campers. The rest of the campers pretty much start fucking right after this, and they don’t stop until death finds them. I’m not joking; everyone is getting a good pump in this book.
I have to admit that the kills are pretty fucking awesome. There’s almost too much killing though, and you become numb to just how many deaths you’ve seen. Granted I’m desensitized in general, but even then I stopped caring about half way through. It took a lot after the first batch of deaths to get my attention again. Even still, there are some creative and gruesome deaths. One, in particular, comes from Madame Tragedy; she flashes her boobs to a guy that’s getting a blowie and then smashes the woman in the head with a sledgehammer which makes her chomp down on his personal area… then she hits him in the head with a sledgehammer.
The dialogue is stiff. There isn’t a line that felt natural to me while reading. It’s just exposition and out of place one-liners. Which, can be enjoyable to some people, but there could have been more to the dialogue. The main character or the final girl as it were, is very underdeveloped. Why she cares about any of these people is beyond me because she spends all of five minutes with any of them and yet seeks revenge for everyone killed at the camp.
As for the artwork, it’s decent. It fits the vibe, but it could have been more detailed. It feels as if it was trying to capture the era a little too much with the style and design. While it’s trying to capture the 70s, it ended up dating itself and looking too old school. A lot of the coloring is flat with mostly solid colors. There’s little to no lighting effects. Shadows are intermittently used when trying to capture details like the bunching of pants but dropped just a few panels later. It’s consistent at least which could have killed the entire story if it wasn’t consistent. Ultimately, the art wasn’t something I was in love with; the kills looked good, but the bits in-between did nothing for me.
If you’re a horror fan or a Battle Royale fan, then check this title out. Again, it’s something that 90% of people are either going to love or hate. You’ll figure it out when you read it for yourself. I like a lot of aspects of the story and the idea of it all, but the execution left a lot to be desired. It’s a long story too, so it’s a shame that there wasn’t more time dedicated to some character development. The slashers end up better developed than our final girl, which is just strange. Still, there’s something clever here, and I don’t regret reading it, I just wish it was better. Sometimes that’s the worst feeling while reading a comic, see it’s potential but being unable to change anything. You just have to ride it out and hope you enjoy the story.
Writer: Russell Hillman
Pencils: Ron Joseph, CJ Camba
Inkers: Ron Joseph, Jake Isenberg, CJ Camba
Colorist: Harry Saxon
Letterer: Sergio Calvet
Publisher: Freaktown Comics