The long-awaited second volume of DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains is finally here! It pretty much goes without saying that GMs running DC Adventures will want to pick up this book right away. Most basically, the book is just what you’d expect: cover-to-cover writeups and stat blocks for DC characters and teams from Lady Shiva to Victor Zsasz (for the first half of the alphabet, see volume 1). Appendices to volume 2 stat out minions (including animals, dinosaurs, and monsters alongside of cultists, ninjas, soldiers, and so forth) and three super-pets, including Krypto. Each entry is helpfully color-coded (blue for heroes, red for villains), and includes a lot of story information along with the game statistics. For characters like Starman and the Question, whose personae have been assumed by multiple individuals over the years, each prominent variation receives attention and, if appropriate, separate stat blocks. Sidebars help the GM deal with characters who have had more than one superheroic identity; for example, one sidebar provides advice on how to run Dick Grayson as Batman.
Despite the volume’s overall quality, it isn’t perfect. The primary negative feature is that some characters are listed underneath their team names, while others are listed alone, in alphabetical order—and it’s not always easy to predict exactly where a character will be found. Metamorpho, for example, gets his own entry, while Halo and Looker are listed as sub-entries under the Outsiders. This creates some confusion and inconvenience for the GM seeking a specific entry. It also seems to me odd that Tim Drake/Wayne is included both as Robin and as Red Robin; when I saw Red Robin listed, I expected to find Damian Wayne as Robin (he’s acknowledged in a sidebar, of course).
For the most part, the writeups in DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains (both volumes) give a snapshot of the DC Universe shortly after the events of Blackest Night, but they don’t seem to reflect the events of Brightest Day. (Thankfully, no signs of the “New 52” are anywhere in evidence.)
[4 of 5 Stars!]