Archive | Reviews

Monica Valentinelli

Hack/Slash Issue #18 Review

Posted on October 3, 2012 by

The Case of the Killer and the Questing KingHack/Slash Issue #18 dives into a character we haven’t seen very often — Cat Curio. The stand-alone story, dubbed “The Case of the Killer and the Questing King,” was written by James Lowder. This issue marks his writing debut for the series he typically edits.

Who is Cat Curio? Cat was first introduced as a little girl in Hack/Slash: The Series #23. After surviving her slasher encounter with Samhain, she was in a coma for many years, and is now an adult. That time lost means that she errs on the side of naivete and has some amount of emotional immaturity. This story and the alternate cover, which where done by Matt Merhoff, highlight her Nancy Drew-like tendencies when she falls into an oh-so-easy manipulative trap set by her “hero,” a super spy (and merchant) named Brendon Mannix Joyce.

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Lenore: Swirlies Review

Posted on September 28, 2012 by

“Everyone’s favorite cute little dead girl is showcased in all her morbid glory in this all-new collection of the timeless comic strip from Roman Dirge! Return once against to the dark, surreal world of Lenore, the girl with a knack for unintentional mayhem and occasional wanton destruction in this fourth volume that includes the extremely rare #13, beautifully and painstakingly illustrated by creator Roman Dirge himself.”

They say that good things come to those who wait, so you better believe that this book is pretty damn good when it takes 5 years to come out. Collecting the rare #13 of Lenore Vol. 1 and issues #1 – #3 of Vol. 2, this book is a perfect starting point for someone who is new to Lenore.

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Blood Sorcery Review

Posted on September 27, 2012 by

Blood Sorcery lures us back to the beginning of Vampire the Requiem and takes a long look at one of the most interesting aspects of the game. While blood sorcery has always been “good” it was probably not as well developed as it could have been in hindsight. The Storytelling system has matured and now Requiem is benefiting from years of experience with a revamp of blood sorcery, an alternative approach to the system and a plethora of interesting additions to your chronicles. Coming in at just under 70 pages of content this is one of the best new books available to fans of Vampire the Requiem.

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Riven Graphic Novel Review

Posted on September 26, 2012 by

“Katya has been in a coma for five years, and when she awakes, everything has changed. Now she is a gorgeous teenager with a mysterious, gruesome past, becoming aware of a growing, terrifying power inside her body, triggered by the touch of the full moon, eager to break free . . . Can Katy solve the mystery of her blood-drenched nightmares before they become reality?”

Okay, seriously, WOW! When I read the solicit on this book, I knew to expect something good, but I didn’t know it was going to be this good. This book has the words “Turn me into a movie” written all over it.

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ParaNorman Movie Review

Posted on September 25, 2012 by

ParaNorman is a horribly delightful stop-motion animated film about a young boy who has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Growing up is already is a rough process and much like Cole Sear from The Sixth Sense Norman’s abilities do not make life any easier. Unlike Cole, Norman has been more open about what he sees which makes him the target of fear and ridicule in the small town of Blithe Hollow. Norman does not know it but he is not the first resident of this witch-obsessed town to have his gifts and he has a very important role to fill.

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Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep Review

Posted on September 20, 2012 by

Every gamer loves game night. We all gather around the game table with snacks and our beverage of choice ready to roll some dice and tell a story together. There is something magical about the tale that unfolds from a collaborative storytelling experience (also known as playing a roleplaying game) and the game master is the lynch pin to that process. It seems so effortless on the player’s side of the game screen but good game preparations are necessary to create that effect at the game table.

Game prep is not an intuitive process for most of us and there are very few resources out there for game masters wishing to learn it. Fortunately Phil Vecchione has come to our rescue with Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep his newest book published by Engine Publishing.

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Deadworld: War of the Dead Review

Posted on September 18, 2012 by

Holy $*!+! That about sums up what just happened at the end of this GORE-Geous and ARGH-Mazing book. Collecting the mini series, that was showcased during Deadworld Month in August from IDW, this book captures the same spirit as what came before, and leads readers into the future of this Dead’verse.

The artwork by Makkonen is beautiful. I said it when I read Slaughterhouse, and I will say it again, Sami’s style is so perfect for this series. His character designs have a very creepy edge to them, placed into his dark backgrounds and my eyes just melt with joy.

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Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places Review

Posted on September 17, 2012 by

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places: Creatures, NPCs, Items, Places and Adventure Hooks for any fantasy system is not only an impressively long title it is also the creation of writer Benjamin Gerber, egg-lobbing world traveler, lover of zombies and game writer. Throw in some bits about IT, sock puppets and cats on fire and you have a writer’s bio that makes me grin from ear to ear.

EPP (for short) is a system independent sourcebook of inspirational material for game masters running fantasy roleplaying games.

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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Book 2: The Chosen Review

Posted on September 14, 2012 by

The Horsemen are back, and you better be strapped in for what is about to go down. Book 2 is a balls to the wall non-stop thrill ride that is going to punch you in the face and not look back. Following the events of the first book, Helldiver, The Chosen shows the rest of the formation of the group that will save Earth from its impending doom. You would think that the visuals could not get any better than they were before, but they did. Each page is alive with such vibrant color. The art by Bisley is so GORE-Geous. His character designs are flat-out jaw dropping, and the amount of detail in each panel is stunning. There is no way in Hell (pun intended) that this book could look any better. His designs for the Horsemen alone, left a craving in this decapitated head for posters, t-shirts and so much more.

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Trail of Cthulhu: The Book of the Smoke Review

Posted on September 7, 2012 by

The Book of the Smoke is an oddity. The intentional use would be as an in-game prop for any setting where an occult London would be researched; however, it is best suited for Trail of Cthulhu, particularly the Bookhounds of London (a great read, by the way).

My initial impression of the book was lackluster. The cover is not eye-catching and doesn’t look right for a book from the intended era. The artwork, maps, and photography inside do seem to belong with such a tome though. The layout (single column) strikes the look of a journal. While the end result is fitting, it still proves dull upon examination.

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Monica Valentinelli

A Discovery of Witches Review

Posted on September 6, 2012 by

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy and was written by Deborah Harkness. The premise is centered upon Diana Bishop, a historian with a secret past, who stumbles upon an ancient text that is *also* a palimpset. After her accidental discovery of Ashmole 782, Diana’s life begins to change — and not necessarily for the better.

What drew me to this story was the promise of mysteries and ancient texts. I immediately identified with Diana and her more rational side and, as the book’s secrets took a strange turn, felt even more drawn into the story.

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Horror in the West Comic Review

Posted on September 5, 2012 by

Well now we got ourselves a bit of a situation here pardner. You see ol’ Decap he is not to big on Western Comics, but he does love his Horror Comics, so what on Earth could he even like about Horror in the West? How about everything! This is one great looking, great reading, hootenanny of a good time! The artwork in this entire collection is GORE-Geous. I will admit that they set the bar high starting with sam Agro’s style, but no story in this ever let me down. Personally I prefered the art styles of Agro, Brian Evinou, Chris McFann and Dan Simon the most, but again they were all great.

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Hell on Earth: Reloaded Review

Posted on September 4, 2012 by

I have to make a confession: I’m not overly familiar with the original Hell on Earth setting. A friend who had both it and Deadlands offered our gaming group at the time the promise of a storyline that would stretch from characters in Deadlands all the way to the far flung future of Hell on Earth. We never made it to the second-tier of his story; other games came a’knockin’. That said, I had a faint overview of the setting, strong familiarity with the system, and powerful motivation for the revised material.

Hell on Earth (HoE from now on) is a large (209 pages) full-color bear with tons o’ teeth.

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Trench Coats, Cigarettes & Shotguns #1 Review

Posted on September 3, 2012 by

I ask myself, just based on this title alone, what is there not to like? Nothing, I like trench coats, cigarettes and shotguns, so how on Earth could this book not entertain me? The artwork by Neudorf is great, and it was all summed up at the very end in a GORE-Geous decapitation scene. Of course I am going to point that out, why wouldn’t I. What I liked most about this art style was that it all seemed to be done on wood, using paint. I really enjoyed his technique. There were some panels where I found things to be a little to jumbled, but if you stare at it, you can figure it out just fine.

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Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Companion Review

Posted on August 31, 2012 by

Thanks to the efforts of the numerous backers who helped with funding the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Companion (V20 Companion) has been completed. PDFs of the book have been distributed to backers and the leather bound copy is being shipped. The book is a companion to the V20 core book and it includes a lot of interesting additions to the core mechanics as well as a few tidbits which were left out of the first book.

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Koma Graphic Novel Review

Posted on August 30, 2012 by

I don’t even know how to start this review without just saying, Book of the Year front-runner. I was so blown away with what happened on these 280+ pages that I feel like trying to sum it up will only come across as a gushing love letter to the creators. So let’s do just that. I went into this book not knowing what to expect, well I expected to read about a little girl and her new Monster friend, but instead I was introduced to a world that was so imaginative and original. If I even try to compare this to anything, and keep in mind that I am just basing this off of the overall feel I had when I was done reading this, I would have to say Spirited Away.

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Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Volume 1: War of the Monsters Review

Posted on August 28, 2012 by


When DC decided to reboot their entire universe there was a great deal of cheering and moaning heard around the world. Whether you consider the reboot to be a success or otherwise there are two things that most readers consider to be positive angles on the issue. One, the reboot has provided a decent place at which to introduce newcomers to the DC universe. Two, it is nice to see little used characters brought to the forefront with their own titles.

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Megan

The Rotten Apple Manhattan (Shadowrun) Review

Posted on August 17, 2012 by

A short piece of fiction depicts a fragment of a ‘run: the forcible extraction of, of all targets, an opera singer! Then some recent history, beginning with an earthquake in 2005 that caused many people and companies to leave, and others to offer to cover the costs of rebuilding in return for deregulation, freeing the city to grow in its own sweet way. Whilst bodies like the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations left, a new body – the Corporate Court – established its headquarters there, paving the way for a new role for the city as massive extra-national corporations developed. Much of Manhatten – the primary focus of this book – was paved over and new corporate skyscrapers built on top. Much of the subway and other below-ground areas, if not destroyed in the ‘quake, remain as the domain of the dispossessed and those who nibble around the fringes… and, of course, shadowrunners and their contacts!

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Flames

V20 Companion RPG Review

Posted on August 16, 2012 by

The V20 Companion is the companion book to the more crunchy Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary rulebook. The V20 Companion has lots of fluff and little crunch, but as alluded to just now that is a contrast to the V20 rulebook, and, I think, a good one. I’ve only seen the pdf, but it is well laid out and easy to navigate.

First after the maybe a little too sexy cover we get pages of dedications from the Kickstarter. There are a lot of names here, folks. Ancille were the bulk of these. I know I am in there somewhere. The Introduction begins with the classic Bradstreet picture of the man feeding submissively from a woman’s wrist. The section gives us an idea how the book was put together, and a little history of it’s development,

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Flames

Pathfinder Tales: Nightglass Review

Posted on August 15, 2012 by

Nightglass is an anthropological study of two cultures and a great story. Both of the elements are nicely intertwined.

The first half of the book follows the training of a boy named Isiem as a follower of Zon-Kuthon in Nidal. The second half is about his escape from this oppressive culture as a man and his living with the Strix around Devil’s Perch in western Cheliax. Sort of a lawful evil Harry Potter and then a flying Dances With Wolves.

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