The cover of the Extremely Creepy Comic Creatures #1 is clearly designed to evoke thoughts of the old Tales From the Crypt horror comics and similar products from the 50's. The company's logo in the upper left, the large, ragged font, the inset "Featuring: The Coffin Creep" image and text all go a long way toward meeting this goal. A nice touch in this age of digital production and distribution though was that thought was given to render the color of the artwork in the style of the older newsprint comics. This was a nice touch and made the cover come together to generate the "creature feature" feel well. This style is continued within, making the art have a uniform look and feel. The notable exception appears to the the creature's full body portrait on one page, and the character standees, which are rendered in a more modern digital paint look with smooth colors.
Also included are a background/environment standee, nine creature standees, and a damsel in distress victim standee. All are rendered nicely and if you use miniatures at the table I can see this being a nice touch, no need to rummage about for an appropriate model(s).
If I had to find a fault with the artwork it would likely be the reuse of the cover artwork inside, and the lack of a dynamic image of the creature in combat or menacing a damsel in distress. This is a pretty minor complaint however, and one that could be made about this product's chief competition as well.
Art is a nice thing, but a character folio needs to have good copy as well. In this case the insides are broken into five sections: Background, Motivation/Goals, Powers & Tactics, Rumors & Stories, and the creature's stats written for use with Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition. There is also a splash page introduction featuring the "Coffin Creep" which again goes a long way to establishing the feel of an old creature feature comic book.
The character sections are succinct, providing a one or two paragraphs each which is more than enough to give GMs a sense of the creature's past and origins, it's personal motivation, how the GM should best use the creature, and some seed ideas. The writing here is clear and concise and the ideas for use provided in the "Rumors & Stories" section range from PL 6 to PL 10, and use the creature as a main foe and as a potential henchmen/henchmonster.
The creature's stats are provided and the names of the powers are, happily, thematically tied to the creature. "Cold, Scaly Flesh" speaks so much more to the character than the base effect of protection. The complications given as solid and tie back to the prior sections well, showing a tied together design. If I had to quibble here I would question the choice of Intellect 0 when an earlier description implied a lack of human intellect, but that would be a quibble indeed. At the end is a closeout page featuring the Coffin Creep; once again tying the whole thing together.
[b]Comparison to GR Threat Reports:[/b]
Invariably this will get compared to Green Ronin's Threat Report series. For a third the price Green Ronin puts out a character a week with a similar structure (background, motivations, build, etc.). So how does Extremely Creepy Comic Creatures #1 stack up in comparison? In the author's opinion it does a pretty solid job. The overall look and design tie the product to the chosen theme more strongly than most Threat Reports do, the quality of the writing is equal to those products, and the addition of standees will likely stand out for some GMs. I especially liked that the plot hooks were spread across different PL levels and genres providing easy options to use this NPC in a multitude of games and formats.
The Creature From the Deep comes out swinging with a high quality product that promises a product line with a strong thematic presence that should set it apart from the standard fare of superheroic licensed supplements "Superpowered by M&M". Minor quibbles about art, an aspect of the Creatures stats, and (potentially) price are by no means deal breaking. Combined with the likelihood that this series of products will fill a thematic hole that is often overlooked in superheroic gaming, and in Mutants & Mastermind in general, and I suspect few will have much reason to complain.
[b]Rating:[/b] 90%, $3 may be a bit steep compared to Green Ronin's $0.99 weekly Threat Report's, but there are extras (the standees, and splash art) to help counter the extra cost as well as a broader usability to the product.
[i]Author's note: A review copy of the product was provided to me by the gentlemen at Stark City Games for the purposes of this review.[/i]
[4 of 5 Stars!]