Review - Hack/Slash 15th Anniversary Special (@imagecomics)

"You should be happy they like you for that one thing."

Cassie Hack is a character rife with tragedy and aggression. In Hack/Slash 15th Anniversary Special from Image Comics, her story gets an appropriate tribute of sorts. "Your Darlings Kill You" is written by Tim Seeley, illustrated by Dan Leister, colored by Carlos Alberto Moreno Diaz (pages 1-10) and Andrew Dalhouse (pages 11-20) and lettered by Crank!. "Abyss" is written and lettered by Brian Crowley and illustrated by Jules Shapirov. "System Ready" is written by Sam Eggleston, illustrated by Jay A. Defoy, colored by Addison Duke and lettered by Crank!. "Random Facts" is compiled by Jeff Bohn and Gregory Ellner. "Timeline" is compiled by Gregory Ellner. "Shit My Vlad Says" is compiled by Jeff Bohn.

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the bloody tale about the slasher victim who fought back with these brand-new stories from HACK/SLASH alumni, as well as new, emerging talent! Plus: an unmissable lead story from—and about!—disgruntled comics writer Tim Seeley, who makes a wish for Cassie Hack to become real…and then becomes a victim himself when his creation swears to kill him.

There's a lot of good stuff crammed into the celebration one-shot, the most prevalent of which is Seeley's own "Your Darlings Kill You" which is written as a testament to the lasting appeal of the main character. That story in particular boasts plenty of things that makes the property itself great, right down to the self-deprecation on the part of Seeley as both writer and main character. "Abyss" is another fairly substantial story where Crowley does a great job of infusing the story with both a sense of gravitas and levity at the same time. The other stories in the issue are a bit more focused on components of the history of the character and property in a way that's relatively lighthearted in its scope, especially the "Shit My Vlad Says" portion which is very amusing. The "Timeline" and "Random Facts" are great for the historical aspects of the character, helping to put her place in perspective. And "System Ready" by Eggleston is hot take on what makes Cassie and Vlad tick, rife with plenty of violence and action.

The bulk of the artwork is showcased in "Your Darlings Will You" and Leister does a great job fusing the comic and real worlds in a way that looks sufficiently comic book. The appearance of Mary Shelley Lovecraft is particularly enjoyable aa Leister gives her plenty of details to serve as nightmare fuel, both for the reader and Seeley's character in the story. The colors by DIaz and Dalhouse ground the book more in the comic book world as it's bursting with darker colors. "Abyss" is a bit more photorealistic in its approach, as Shapirov does an excellent job rendering the characters in a modern diner setting. The pin-up gallery at the end of the issue is also a great walk down memory lane when it comes to the character and some of the others she's crossed paths with. Defoy's illustrations in "System Ready" keep up with the action well, emphasizing the seediness of the story's plot with an abundance of shading and cross-hatching.

Hack/Slash 15th Anniversary Special is as much an homage to the industry as it is to the title character. Cassie Hack has been amazingly durable from a popularity standpoint, something that's a testament to the strength of her as a character. Seeley's script in "Your Darlings Kill You" is slickly written with tongue firmly in cheek. Leister's artwork is used to great effect in giving the reader a glimpse at the character and her ever-zany world that she's forced to contend with. Hack/Slash 15th Anniversary Special is well worth picking up if you're a fan of the series as it pats itself on the back in a way that the reader can certainly appreciate.

Hack/Slash 15th Anniversary Special is available now.