By Tim Seeley, Barry Keating, & Brian Yuzna (Story), Emily Stone (Art), and Mark Englert (Colors)

I was sold on the Hack/Slash Vs. Re-Animator crossover the moment it was announced. Two of my favorite comic characters against an 80’s horror icon? Sign me up! Now, the fanboy in me loves that the tone, use of continuity, and characterization are spot on. The critic in me is forced to acknowledge the slow burn storytelling, disappointing artwork, and the sense (so far) that Dr. West seems to exist more as a storytelling device than the classic character he is.

The storyline for this crossover arc is, surprisingly, quite continuity heavy. It mostly revolves around clearing up the mystery surrounding Cassie’s father (going by the clever alias of Gordon Stuart) as he assists in Dr. Herbert West’s quest to “cure” death. Cassie and Vlad play a fairly minor role in the issue as their scenes mostly center around the search for Mr. Hack. It is a slow and fairly uneventful issue, but it works rather well putting the plot pieces in place. I can’t help but wish that the story wasn’t so steeped in continuity though. While Dr. West’s appearance feels shockingly natural given both Hack/Slash and The Re-Animator storylines, I wish he had gotten some chance to interact with the main characters. At least for this one issue, he feels more like a (well written) plot device than a villain. I hope there is some sort of confrontation before this is all over or else the Herbert West appearance will have been wasted.

I can’t stress enough how well written Dr. West is. Tim Seeley absolutely nails the character and manages to fit him into the Hack/Slash world in an incredibly smooth manner. As for the rest, it’s standard Seeley stuff. He writes a well told story, good character interactions, and clever in-jokes.

Emily Stone’s artwork is solid though somewhat underwhelming. Everything has a somewhat sketchy look to it and the coloring does nothing to hide it. While I generally enjoy her style, I just don’t feel that it fits the story well this time out. Still, as a whole, it’s a book that presents well.

Hack Slash #15 is a solid start to what I hope will turn into a great story. The necessary background is given, the pieces are moved into place, and the guest-star is (for the most part) used quite well. While not quite as strong as I was expecting, it holds loads of potential. Hack/Slash and horror fans in general should make sure to give this one a look. (Grade: B-)

-Kyle Posluszny