the gunslinger born by peter david, stephen king, jae lee, & robin furth.
i think that, if stephen king was willing to get his heavy-handed edit on, that the dark tower series could be a truly amazing trilogy. as it stands, i think that they are an interesting septet of books. personally, it is the mid-world mythology that i am into: that slice of americana that has a cowboy with six-shooters minted from excalibur riding under oil rigs to rain gunfire down on a witch & her mutant familiar while "hey jude" plays in the background. that is one heck of a stitch for tying things together. which is why i like the gunslinger & the wolves of the calla best, probably, along with the flashback in wizard & glass. that, & the slang. i'm a sucker for jargon, & the idioms of mid-world are plausible. i'm a fan of that.
that was what i slowly began to remember as i read through this. that, & damn but jae lee makes the world pop & sizzle into life. sings like the thinny, say thankee. i think jae lee might have a similar mejis in his mind to mine, except the people who lived in mine were latino. really, it is nice to see it in a different format; then again, shared cosmology is another thing i'm interested in, & letting someone else have a go at your work is like editing, in that they'll use what they like. the world of the dark tower is actually more engaging than deadlands or any other similar joint, & i think this comic had that. got that. kind of a bummer that it wasn't a real story, was nothing more than a retread of mejis, but at the same time, it is nice to see a different angle, you know? & oh, the line of narration that particularly struck me: "the crimson king speaks. as a direct result, somewhere a slumbering, dreaming infant shudders & dies in its crib."
bloodlines: the chosen by a bunch of authors.
the weakest of the bloodline books by far. bloodlines, right, are one of the great ideas of the vampire reboot, from masquerade to requiem. now, rather than kind of lame character options, any character can be in one. it adds a dimension of depth rather than a diminishment. kudos to that. plus, new powers! now, i used to be opposed to power-creep, but the open-ended nature of the new setting makes such a thing welcome. a good way to kick your players in the pants & say "you don't know everything." &, you know, from the point of view of a guy planning to file off the serial numbers & use the mechanics in his dark faerietale fantasy game, i can always use some more.
this book, though...was made by fans. put together out of submissions. & it shows. i don't mean to be snide. i liked the first bloodlines book, but i think they've degenerated as they've gone along. i think what the public demanded & what i want may be at odds, at least judging by the introductions. i don't want in-depth analysis of these things! give me brushstrokes! i'd rather have hooks to hang my imagination on than have you explain things to me. i guess that is just how i roll. how i role. oh, bad pun.
belial's brood by george holochwost, khaldoun khelil, ari marmell, & c.a. suleiman.
belial's brood is the quasi-sabbat of the vampire: the requiem line; sort of picking up where the sabbat left off in the original setting, rather than what they became. that is to say, they're the monstrous satanic vampire cult. now, the sabbat of the old vampire: the masquerade line ended up becoming a pretty well-realized organization, & i understand wanting to put some distance away from that, especially as many of the lessons learned with the sabbat were ported over into some of v:tr's covenants, particuarly the lancea sanctum. so what about belial's brood? they're the malignant cult of demon worshipers that crop up everywhere, without rhyme or reason.
well first, let me say this: i think this book was a mistake. see, let me cut to the chase: it makes too much fucking sense. & really, it isn't...shocking? wicked? although it does show just how much weird resentment against heresy there still is. see, belial's brood's mythology is...basically gnostic. "evil" gnosticism, but just plain old adversary-demiurge action. from there, the book goes on to outline kind of interesting spiritual mechanisms. the pneuma/soma/sarx dogma, for instance. so what ends up forming is...a basically plausible vampire social club. which is what you expressly don't want the brood to become. the fact that, for no reason, a group of vampires will suddenly start worshiping the devil? that is much scarier than a philosophy that makes worshiping the devil a reasonable behavior.