Sunday, May 8, 2016

Review: Hooky

  Marvel Comics Graphic Novel #22 is Hooky.


As I recall, I picked this up at the Hobbit, a hobby shop in Fayetteville that got about 40% of my monthly pay when I was an unmarried soldier. I grabbed it in about 1987.

  Hard to believe that is almost 30 years ago.

Spoilers Follow

Synopsis:
  There is an opening with Spidey in New York.It is cold, miserable, and he has a mild cold. Soon he runs into an old friend, Mandy. When he was a little kids (long before he had super powers) she was the 12 year old foster child living next door to Uncle ben, Aunt May, and Peter. She hasn't changed at all.
  As in, shes still 12 years old.
  She explains to Spidey that she is the daughter of a powerful wizard who lost a magical war centuries ago. To prevent his foes from killing her he cast a spell on her that would force her to stop growing up - she would remain 12 forever. Since she would never mature she would never have the chance to become a powerful mage and, harmless, she could live.
  But she needs his help. A thing, called the Tordenkakerlakk ('thunder cockroach') is coming for her and if you defeat it it just comes back stronger.
  Spidey, always a sucker for a kid in trouble, is soon whisked away to the pocket dimension of Cloudseal where, on a floating ship, he fights with the eldritch might of the Tordenkakerlakk....

Review:
  A wonderful little book, Hooky is a treasure trove of hooks and ideas for gamemasters.
Writing: The story is simple, the exposition is good, the dialog is classic Spidey, and the plot is a ton of fun.
Art: The monster is in one style, the heroes in another, from the same artist.  It is as if Romita did Spidey, New York, and such while Serpieri did the monster and the mystical stuff. It sounds jarring but it was very effective in making the mystical very other within the book. I have seen others criticize the difference, but I think it was a bold move that I like a great deal.
Overall: Worth the money to own and the time to read and something I can come back to.

Gaming Related:
  It has tons of RPG-flavored hooks - the old neighbor (NPC) that turns out to be a cursed princess (backstory coming back); a mystical foe that gets strong when it is defeated; Sailing ships that fly; A pocket dimension that was formerly home to the castle of an archmage.
  The hits just keep coming.
  Heck, just the obvious magic items in the book are worth stealing.
  Hell, this book is a great 3rd-5th level Spelljammer adventure as is.