Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Blood Bowl, Killer Contract - A Review

Blood Bowl, Killer Contract written by Matt Borbeck with art & colors by Lads Helloven

There are very few words required to accurately describe this book. I think the best I can do is pointless savagery with a touch of humor. And, based upon that I have to say this book is awesome. I know, I know this isn’t my normal cup o’tea but there was something that drew me to this book.

Some background on Blood Bowl for those that are unfamiliar with it. It's actually a game from a company called Games Workshop, creators of the Warhammer gaming system. Blood Bowl, is alot like HeroClix with little miniature figures and endless battles. The difference here is Blood Bowl is football played by orcs, goblins, elves, and humans. I've never played but as far as I can tell the rules are simple, score just like football, and kill just like all the other fantasy games on the market. You can read more about the Blood Bowl Game here.

There's not alot to work with as a basic premise, but Matt Borbeck does a great job making this an entertaining read. The entire issue takes place within one game as the Back Bay Hackers play against the Orcland Raiders. Apparently, the Hackers are the best team in the Land and won the Blood Bowl Trophy. The game commentary is provided by two narrators that be best described as Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford if they were blood thirsty Goblins.

The story opens as our hero Dunk Hoffnung, the quarterback, throws a touchdown to one of the rookie players, Zu Tapfer. During the rookie's endzone celebration, he is gang tackled by the Orcs and killed. That's kinda the book in a nutshell.. football and killing. But, it's all done with such tongue in cheek that it's really funny!

This book is all about football jokes and mindless violence with a few moments of character development far and few between. Other developments include, Gimmy the Geek putting a hit out on Dunk and planting an assassin on the team. In the meantime, Dunk is trying to stay alive on the field while not getting in trouble with the coach who just happens to look like Captain Hook.

In case it wasn’t obvious, this is a wonderful sendup of the NFL. From advertisements for Bloodweiser to updates on previous games when the Hackers "beat the panties off the Amazon of the Lustrian Lusties". The two narrators are priceless and mimic the pointless conversation heard from many professional announcers.

The art is very strong too. Lads Helloven has a wonderfully exaggerated style that reminds me a little of Adam Pollina's style with either big square bodies or lanky ones. He does a great job filling the uniforms with spikes and swords along with making the Orcs look really vicious.

If you like football and want to see it taken to a silly extreme then this is a good book for you. Don't expect any redeeming qualities, just lots of pointless fun.

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