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jameson (ST)

Mutants & Masterminds - [Review] Hero Happy Hour Super Shots (series review)

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Hero Happy Hour Super Shots

Vitals: Published by Rhinotaur • 4 pages each • $0.99 each (currently $3.96 for a bundle of 7) • color and B&W PDF

The Super Shots product line details a series of characters from the Rhinotaur comic Hero Happy Hour, which is something I have not read ... yet. I say that because after taking a look at these seven characters and knowing that I was also sent the omnibus edition of the first five comics, I really do want to check out the comic, I probably would even if it weren't sitting for free in my DriveThruRPG account.

But enough about a comic I'm not here to review (yet) and have not read (also yet), let's talk about the characters. Each Super Shot is a single character, their background, details on their skills and powers, and a couple paragraphs about how they fit into the Hideout Bar & Grill, which is a bar catering to supers within the comic. There's also a brief adventure hook. All seven characters follow that basic format with only minor variation.

Each Super shot has two pieces of artwork; a full color full body shot on the first page, and a small B&W headshot. The art style is stylized, and a little chunky/blocky, but I think it works as well as any other for conveying the look and poise of the characters. The roughly half page size color shot is really the only color in the product outside of company identifiers and the like, but that's fine too; I'd rather not have full color borders and layout if it means that a small press can keep costs down, and at 99¢ a pop nobody can complain they don't get what they paid for.

The profiles and descriptions work well as written and in some cases got a good laugh out of my by way of clever wording/phrasing. Making a product entertaining to read is as important as making it useful in my book, so the occasional chuckle is welcome. The stat-blocks for the characters, all in Mutants and Masterminds Third Edition, are generally laid out cleanly. There were a couple of instances where an Array was losing a grappling contest to some of the other powers, but nothing I couldn't get over once I figured out where one ended and the other began.

#1 - Guardian, PL 14

One part Superman and one part Green Lantern. Police officer finds a dying alien and gains the powers of a paragon, super strength, flight, and a duty to patrol for super criminals and aliens. I loved the adventure hook with this guy, a loopy nod to the more innocent days of comics involving a "slightly evil" alternate twin.

#2 - Phantom Dread, PL 14

A super villain with magic and a cape with darkness powers. Dread is a staple villain, apparently willing to throw down with any hero, or perhaps unfortunate enough to have to deal with all heroes, I guess that depends on how you look at it. He is fairly flexible in use, and downright powerful considering the main oomph of his powers comes from a magical variable effect. By the time I got to the end of his adventure hook I knew that this product line and setting were as much about the humor as the super heroics.

#3 - Eradicator, PL 10

He doesn't sound like a hero does he? Well he's an anti-hero/vigilante really. He's also the one who made me chuckle the most. Eradicator an un-powered guy with an attitude, weapons, and a willingness to use both to give villains what they deserve. He's a little like Casey Jones from TMNT in that respect.

#4 - Krimson Klaw, PL 9

What do you get when a punk gets his hands on an advanced piece of military power armor hardware? A punk with an advance military power armor suit. Klaw reads like the joke villain he's meant to be (at least I hope he was meant to be a joke). His armor's Klaw is still a dangerous weapon, but he's just not his own villain, being a pawn of the bigger fish (like Phantom Dread).

#5 & #6 - Night Ranger, PL 12 & Scout, PL 8

An inventor with a tragic past and a desire for revenge, by way of justice. Night Ranger has all the usual crime fighter toys, and a crime fighter's problem sidekick as well. The Night Ranger's sidekick, Scout, is the kind of sidekick who needs a kick. An early life that was a bit rough, and a lack of real responsibility, mark him as a bit of a foil for his mentor.

#7 - Trouble, PL 10

Trouble is hard to put a finger on. She's an amnesiac with impressive combat skills and no powers. She's a villain, but it seems that is as much a factor of being a "wild child" type and less that of the world dominating, city destroying, monomaniacal type. She's a martial artist type with a penchant for improvised weapons, and impressive physical abilities, including a nicely wrought healing trance.

Closing Thoughts

On their own each character has enough going on to well justify the price of admission, especially, I would imagine, if you were already a reader of the Hero Happy Hour comic. As stand alone NPCs to drop into your campaign they work, though in such a situation I would actually recommend the bundle for $3.96 as there is a great deal of cross reference between the characters with regards to their backgrounds. Plus $4 for 7 is a great deal no matter how you shake it. Plus they give me a hint at what to expect from the comic, which looks to be rather fun. I'll review that soon.

That said these aren't perfect either. I mentioned that I had some trouble with the formatting of arrays not being clear, its a minor issue, but it's there. There are also a fair number of typos and spelling errors. Not an egregious number, but enough to catch my eye. Again, not a deal breaker by any means, at least not for me. The art style may not appeal to everybody, but honestly art is subjective, and I don't ding points unless it fails to convey the subject. The artwork here is stylized, but it works. Luckily you can get a taste for it from the preview pages on DriveThruRPG so if art is enough to steer you away from something look before you leap.

Rating: 85%, These are solid characters running across a number of PLs and backed up with some humorous writing. Spelling and formatting issues are present, but not cripplingly so. Art snobs should look before they buy.

Author's note: Review copies of these products were provided to me by the gentlemen at Rhinotaur for the purposes of this review.

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