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Vampire the Masquerade: Giovanni
by Ryan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2020 05:14:27

Moonstone Clan Comics Review: I decided to purchase all of the old Moonstone VTM comics in anticipation for the upcoming ones from Vault Comics, and wow, these things sure are a product of their era. Oftentimes they’re edgy for the sake of being edgy, lacking even the semblance of substance. The characters are often poorly fleshed out and completely unbelievable. Everything that happens in the narrative is there only to throw you off the trail of the inevitable, horribly convoluted and nonsensical twist. There are constant red herrings throughout and then when the twist happens, you’re left in shock at the utter stupidity. But for that reason, they can be genuinely entertaining, like a B-movie.

Giovanni Review: The plot here focuses on the two characters being conscripted to bid on a painting for Pietro Giovanni and the hijinks that ensue thereof. This comic is only 52 pages long and I stopped reading to take a break multiple times because I was so bored.

The two main characters, Isabel and Madeleine look very similar, being the same skin-tone and both having shoulder-length black hair, so initially there were times I was confused as to who was talking. There are minor differences that I got the hang of after a little bit, as one has wavy hair and the other has straight hair with bangs, and they wear different (albeit black) outfits. But even with those differences, it’s clear that even the creators were confused because there is one point^ where Madeleine calls the other character “Madeleine”.

Who is talking doesn’t really matter, though. Both characters are supposed to be knowledgeable and competent, but because they needed to explain what’s going on to the reader, one will randomly ask the other a fledgling-level question, or one will explain something to the other that you’d think wouldn’t need explaining. Madeleine is younger than Isabel, so you’d think they would reserve the audience stand-in role for her and the mentor role for Isabel, but this role shifts throughout the story. One of the main characters has a soft-spot for orphans, but this element is just there - it serves no purpose, other than to fill pages because the story is paper-thin. The traits given to them just never affect anything in any meaningful way.

It ineptly tries to make a theme about methods of ruling: ruling by being feared versus ruling by being loved. But whatever point was trying to be made doesn’t land because the characters don’t articulate their points well.

And finally, this story focuses exclusively on the mafia-like qualities of the clan and doesn’t even mention Necromancy. Which… I mean… why? Why would you make a Giovanni comic and completely ignore that aspect of the clan? There’s also a reference to a vampire’s bite being a mix of pleasure and pain, and this is said by a Giovanni to a fellow Giovanni. But a Giovanni’s bite is strictly painful. Did they forget the clan weakness?

Like the others in this series, there’s a twist at the end. This one made me sigh, but at least I wasn’t horribly frustrated by it.

^If you buy this, it happens on page 41



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Giovanni
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Vampire the Masquerade: Theo Bell
by Ryan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2020 05:13:07

I’ve already covered the clan issues, so now I’m on to the issues following the exploits of signature VTM characters. This one tells the story of a city in chaos and the resulting fighting and scheming for power. It’s an oft-used tabletop scenario put to the page. It follows Theo Bell (of whom we get the internal monologue, which is often bitter and displays the disdain he has for his position in the Camarilla) as he tries to bring order to a city with an problem involving thin bloods and Masquerade breaches.

In the clan issues, whenever kindred fed, they always either killed or embraced their victim. It’s like the authors were not aware that there was another option. However, here we finally get to see a Kindred practicing restraint and trying to adhere to the tenets of humanity. And for individuals with whom he has to get into combat situations, he shows pity and, occasionally, mercy.

This is so much better than any of the clan issues from Moonstone and I definitely recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Theo Bell
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Vampire the Masquerade: Ventrue
by Ryan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2020 04:25:55

Moonstone Clan Comics Review: I decided to purchase all of the old Moonstone VTM clan comics in anticipation for the upcoming run from Vault Comics, and wow, these things sure are a product of their era. Oftentimes they’re edgy for the sake of being edgy, lacking even the semblance of substance. The characters are often poorly fleshed out and completely unbelievable. Everything that happens in the narrative is there only to throw you off the trail of the inevitable, horribly convoluted and nonsensical twist. There are constant red herrings throughout and then when the twist happens, you’re left in shock at the utter stupidity. But for that reason, they can be genuinely entertaining, like a B-movie.

Ventrue Review: In regard to all of the negative things said above, this Ventrue issue is easily the worst offender. None of the characters or events make any sense. There are multiple twists, each dumber than the last. I wish I could complain about every reason the twists are so frustrating and nonsensical, but I won’t spoil the… “story”.

As for the “mature” content: Sex! Murder! Rape! It’s all there and it’s all edgy BS! Of course you can have all of those things and more in a story, but this is so clumsy and juvenile that I was left rolling my eyes. Hell, the Nosferatu issue written by the same author explored the theme of child abuse and pedophilia, but it was done (more or less) with purpose.

I’d recommend this only for the morbidly curious.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Ventrue
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Vampire the Masquerade: Toreador
by Ryan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2020 04:10:10

Moonstone Clan Comics Review: I decided to purchase all of the old Moonstone VTM clan comics in anticipation for the upcoming run from Vault Comics, and wow, these things sure are a product of their era. Oftentimes they’re edgy for the sake of being edgy, lacking even the semblance of substance. The characters are often poorly fleshed out and completely unbelievable. Everything that happens in the narrative is there only to throw you off the trail of the inevitable, horribly convoluted and nonsensical twist. There are constant red herrings throughout and then when the twist happens, you’re left in shock at the utter stupidity. But for that reason, they can be genuinely entertaining, like a B-movie.

Toreador Review: Very little happens in this clan issue. Several pages are dedicated to a movie that’s being shown and half of the entire thing is a recounting of the history of vampires. The history doesn’t really match any of the canon I’m aware of and one character even comments that the story isn’t correct, so I’m left wondering what the point of it is. The rest of the comic exists so they can throw in a twist at the end.

That all said, I was mildly entertained and it wasn’t outright bad. Just pointless.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Toreador
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Vampire the Masquerade: Nosferatu
by Ryan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2020 04:09:48

Moonstone Clan Comics Review: I decided to purchase all of the old Moonstone VTM clan comics in anticipation for the upcoming run from Vault Comics, and wow, these things sure are a product of their era. Oftentimes they’re edgy for the sake of being edgy, lacking even the semblance of substance. The characters are often poorly fleshed out and completely unbelievable. Everything that happens in the narrative is there only to throw you off the trail of the inevitable, horribly convoluted and nonsensical twist. There are constant red herrings throughout and then when the twist happens, you’re left in shock at the utter stupidity. But for that reason, they can be genuinely entertaining, like a B-movie.

Nosferatu Review: All that said, this Nosferatu issue is easily the best of the clan issues. It tells the tale of a girl abducted by a Nosferatu. While not all of their interactions are believable and the state of mind of the characters can be erratic and hard to pinpoint, the narrative at least stays focused on the main character and her relationship with the Nosferatu character. There’s barely a twist in this one even. The ending is actually competently set up! If you were going to give these comics a try, you should start here. Maybe you should end here as well.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Nosferatu
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Kolchak: The Night Stalker: The Lovecraftian Horror
by Mattias G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2017 07:08:53

I'm gonna have to give it the full 5 stars. First of all, the illustrations are excellent both in terms of evocative style and in layout (one per page), which capture the horror feel better than nortmal cartoons. This is a proper graphic novel!

Secondly, the text itself, delivered in a quintessential 50's / Dashiell Hammet type of Noir. Not the jumbled schizo lingo where different writers (or translators) have been brought in to provide piece-meal illustrations of the pictures, but as a consistent literary voice. It really brings the lead character, Kolchak, to life (perhaps even more so than the TV series?)!

The one weaker point is perhaps the mystery at heart and the show down itself. Basically just another Innsmouth style raid into sea caves to machinegun deep ones. Then again I'm not that taken with Lovecraftian horror, but to me it was all the peripheral things (local colour and details) rather than the plot itself that kept up interest.

Anyhoo, for 5 bucks, you should definitely get this inspirational masterpiece.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kolchak: The Night Stalker: The Lovecraftian Horror
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Werewolf the Apocalypse: Fianna
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2015 16:55:54

Having purchased several of the Moonstone White Wolf graphic novels I continue to be impressed with them. The world building and characters are flawless. The art is amazing and typically the style suits the story well. In this particular book the characters are written with an Irish accent (that is at least good enough to impress me, but I am not Irish). I will continue working my way through the books offered in print.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf the Apocalypse: Fianna
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The Hat Squad: Falling Star
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2015 16:39:51

If you are craving a story in the classic noir style this graphic novel does an excellent job. The tone, art, and language remind me of the movies that I have watched in the genre.

The book is reasonably priced (less than $7 dollars for print and 2.99 for digital only). The print copy I received was of high quality. Despite being a scanned image book the images were crisp. The art was well preserved and had survived the transition.

After ignoring a woman's request for help the Hat Squad becomes involved in solving her murder out of guilt. They was no time in scouring all known avenues for results. The conclusion is a true noir conclusion. I don't want to spoil it, but I will say that it was very fitting for the story.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Hat Squad: Falling Star
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Vampire the Masquerade: Calebros
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2015 11:16:04

If you are looking for a stand alone graphic novel to try as a way of testing Moonstone's Vampire: The Masquerade run this book is an excellent place to start. Calebros is a frustrated academic cast into the role of overwhelmed bureaucrat. While he's trying his best at keeping the city from crumbling into chaos his own mind is beginning to unravel from within.

Calebros is an engaging protagonist and the story does an excellent job exploring his identity.The has tension, mystery, and some exciting payoffs. I genuinely would like to know more about the character.

The price of less than $7 dollars is a reasonable rate for the print. It is cheaper than many of the other world of darkness books, although this due to it being in black and white. If you want a low risk entry into the collection it would be hard to find a better book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Calebros
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Vampire the Masquerade: Blood & Loyalty
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2015 11:06:24

Excellent value can be found in this trade. It collects 5 of the Vampire graphic novels for the efficient price of around $15 dollars for a printed copy. Tue stories are varied, but each show contribute by showing a different aspect of the World of Darkness. Even if one of the stories is a personal miss the amount of content that is sure to be engrossing far outweighs the price tag.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire the Masquerade: Blood & Loyalty
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Werewolf the Apocalypse: Glass Walkers
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2015 10:22:34

I don't generally buy digital only comics. I prefer the feel of holding a comic as I read. However, I was purchasing another larger White Wolf comic and decided to toss on this file as an impulse buy. I do not regret it.

The Glass Walkers, for those not as well versed in White Wolf Lore, are the technologically inclined tribe of werewolves that see it as their duty to protect the cities from the wyrms influence. The story centers on a "tribe" of recruits who are investigating a mysterious video game. The characters are well defined and are memorably likable. The story combines mystery, horror and action superbly.

The highest praise that I can give is that after reading this e-comic I want to purchase the second Werewolf trade. This story is included, according to the description. I would happily buy the trade in order to add this story to my physical comic collection.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf the Apocalypse: Glass Walkers
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The Saint: The Man Who Was Clever
by Myk D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/12/2014 16:57:20

All in all, I'm disappointed. This is described as a "graphic novel", but it's actually more like an illustrated novel. In a graphic novel, the story is shown in images and dialogue, with limited narration. This is largely the text of the novel, with vaguely linked images that don't show what is happening. It's an ok illustrated novel, though.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Saint: The Man Who Was Clever
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Kolchak Tales: Ghost Stories (B)
by Flames R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2013 13:58:22

Carl Kolchak, hard-bitten reporter of the supernatural from the TV series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” of the 1970s returns to action courtesy of an ongoing series of comic books and graphic novels from Moonstone Books. This time, Carl’s been fired by the owner of the newspaper that used to employ him, and he must find another way to make ends meet. He’s approached by a young couple, Otto and Mo Brerhahrer, who are ghost hunters in their spare time, and Kolchak can hardly say no, particularly when they offer to buy him lunch.

Through three related vignettes, the reader learns more about Kolchak, and why he has such a close connection to the supernatural. The first, titled “Fifteen Minutes,” find Kolchak at his wits end regarding where his next meal is coming from. He decides to get in touch with a young couple he met at a recent funeral – their interest in the supernatural seemed fortuitous, and at the time they had expressed an interest in hiring him to do some writing work for them. As it turns out, the offer wasn’t completely genuine but it was sincere, and Kolchak is intrigued.

In the second story, “Blood,” Kolchak is attempting to network with other reporters at a press conference to find work. The company holding forth, Windsor Chemical, is being investigated for illegal dumping. Abandoning the networking effort as a lost cause, Kolchak heads home; later that night, a mysterious and beautiful woman visits him, wanting to hire him to investigate the circumstances surrounding Windsor Chemicals. What Kolchak finds is murder, and more deaths to come.

In story number three, “A Clue To The Truth,” Kolchak is sent by Otto Brerhahrer – a ghost hunter from the first tale – to interview a local expert on the supernatural in order to give himself a better background understanding of ghosts. Kolchak finds himself losing track of the time during his lengthy conversation with Doctor Robert M. Carter; he finally excuses himself hours after he arrived, thanking Dr. Carter profusely for being such an engaging conversationalist. When he meets with Otto the next morning, Otto has news that shocks Kolchak to the core.

This is an entertaining series of tales, and I found myself at the end wishing there was more to read and enjoy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kolchak Tales: Ghost Stories (B)
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Return of the Monsters: Black Bat vs Dracula
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2013 00:45:47

Well - uh -

Boy, do I hate to say it. Maybe I can make this a little kinder.

It could have been better.

The writer starts from the assumption that every reader knows who these characters are. An incorrect assumption, as this is an issue that most people will pick up even if they don't know any character but Dracula. Let's face it: Hardly anything with "Dracula" in the title is going to lose money.

But how many people know who the Black Bat is/was? And who's this Rachel dressed as an even-more badly designed Azrael-Batman? Why is Dracula in this particular city at this time, and why is Rachel hunting him? What's her relation, if any, to Black Bat? (They seem to know each other.) The story seems to be chase, chase, chase, fight, chase some more, fight, stop the story before it ends.

It's really hard to tell what's going on sometimes. The art is very pretty, and filled with lots of extra lines which aren't needed. (Alex Toth would have a fit!) But the artist seems to want to fill up space and show off his/her art - not tell a story.

SPOILER WARNINGS!!!

The plot is: Dracula is killing prostitutes. Rachel hunts Dracula. He almost successfully seduces her but Black Bat saves her. (Surprised?) Dracula is driven away by a Really Badly Drawn Schtick. (The items used to drive him away are not the items which would drive him away, nor do they look like them.)

We don't get to know the Bat. We don't get to know Dracula. (We just assume he's like the most cliched movie version.) And we don't get to know Rachel, other than - like a stereotyped woman hero, she comes from an abusive background. Look, it worked well enough with Red Sonja, but does EVERY abused person put on a costume and go hunting bad guys and monsters? In far too many comics, they do -- and that's all we ever see into their character.

Every person seeing this title, especially if they know who Black Bat was, really wants to read this book and hungrily wants to like it. We were ready to forgive a lot, and we have to if we want to finish the story. (Which doesn't finish, using the stereotyped "The End?" blurb.) We have come to expect so much from Moonstone.

It could've been a contender. The best I can say is "It's not as bad as it could have been."

I really - REALLY - wanted to like this.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Return of the Monsters: Black Bat vs Dracula
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Kolchak Tales: Frankenstein Agenda #1
by Aaron B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2012 05:17:36

I was pleasantly surprised by this comic. I'd watched a bit of the original TV series, and this does a good job of keeping that general atmosphere.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kolchak Tales: Frankenstein Agenda #1
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