Progressive Panels
Hack Slash/Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell
By Andy Frisk
January 9, 2011 - 17:02

Arcana Studios
Writer(s): Josh Blaylock
Penciller(s): Joe Song
Colourist(s): Ben Ellebracht
Letterer(s): Crank!
Cover Artist(s): Tim Seeley and Rachelle Rosenberg
$3.99 US

Mercy Sparx, Josh Blaylock’s greatest creation, sees new panel time in what is perhaps the best ever goth-chick meets devil-chick crossover…well, it might be the only ever goth-chick meets devil-chick crossover. Nevertheless, Hack Slash/Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell is a gloriously and slashingly good satirical romp through the religious horror filled realm of the American Midwest. Well again…the American Midwest might not really be filled with religious horror, but as bands like Slipknot have shown, some scary things can come out of this region…and what a better idyllic locale to populate with goth and devil chicks, rouge angels, and slashers? Nothing screams irony like an all-American Midwest girl gone dark and dangerous monster hunter complete with black lipstick and fishnets and a hard rockin’, red skinned, tail and horn adorned devil chick that spews humorously vile and tongue in cheek pop culture lampooning dialogue. These two characters are like two sides of the same perverted (not what you’re thinking) coin. Their meeting, banter, blows, and eventual team up as penned by Blaylock does nothing but amp up each other’s cred and likability. Cassie Hack continues to be a staple amongst the monthly offerings thanks to her being picked up by Image Comics, but with Mercy kinda hanging in limbo right now (pardon the pun), hopefully Hack Slash/Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell will garner her a new lease on life as well…this huge Mercy fan at least hopes so! Perhaps Arcana (Mercy’s new owners) will realize they’ve got a potential mega hit on their hands with Mercy.


For those of you who haven’t read either of these fun characters, Cassie Hack is a slasher hunting monster killer who’s following through on her life’s goal of ridding the world of monsters of the Jason/Freddy/Michael Myers type since her mother was one herself, and Mercy Sparx is the coolest and hottest devil you’ll ever meet. Mercy is on a mission funded by heaven to take down rogue angels. As Hank, her side kick, weapon maker, roommate, and what passes for best friend says, “We gotta beat up hot angel chicks all the time. Hurts my heart. I mean like, really hot chicks.” The really hot angel chicks usually deserve the beating they get at Mercy’s hands though, and the monsters that Cassie and her sidekick and best friend Vlad take down definitely deserve their fates.


These two characters’ missions are comically and ironically brilliant, and are chocked full of Kevin Smith’s Dogma type humor. The rules, personalities, and seemingly idiotic antics of the clergymen, rouge angels, power hungry evangelistic preachers, and demonic forces that Mercy and Hank encounter are a hilarious commentary on and parody of their real world counterparts and myths. Blaylock uses Mercy to lambast not only organized religion though. The things that come out of Mercy’s mouth as far as her opinions on the rogue angels’ likes go (usually techno music and Lady Gaga type stuff) and the current pop culture icons whose very fame defies their relevance are simply rollicking. 



The two coolest female heroes around are drawn into action together to battle a resurrected priest and nun who are seeking revenge against the priest who had them killed. Mix in a heavenly weapon of incredible power that was lost by its angel warrior bearer and you’ve got the type of tale that is just ripe with humor, gore, and action. Artist Joe Song brings this whole halo, horned and fishnet draped affair to gloriously gory and hideously hilarious life. His rendition of Mercy is spectacular and captures all the smart ass body language Mercy is known for. He does a great job recreating her tattoos, which are angels, clouds, and haloes. What do you from expect a bad girl from Sheol (a type of purgatory just north of Hell)? For a scrap happy girl from the realms just north of hell that already has horns, a tail, and red skin, wouldn’t tattoos displaying the opposite be the riot girrrl way to go? Song’s grasp of anatomy, panel flow, religious iconography, and fight choreography are all solid. He does a very good job of distinguishing both Cassie and Mercy’s looks too. Often times hot comic book chicks, especially when there is more than one appearing in the same book, can become cookie cutter versions of each other. Song distinguishes both by sticking to their respective signature looks quite well.  

Overall, Hack Slash/Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell is not only good fun, it’s a representative of the type of humor, irony, and storytelling that Josh Blaylock is capable of. His devil girl with the smart mouth creation really needs to be heard and seen more often.

Rating: 10/10

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