Review – Berona’s War Vol. 1: Field Guide

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Take a role playing game’s source book, mix in fuzzy cute characters with crazy weapons, and add a story about a war and you’re pretty close to what Berona’s War Vol. 1: Field Guide is.

I was never much of a fan of reading those role playing game source books, I’d much rather play the game, but this “field guide” (which should have a game based on it), is so entertaining and fun to read.  The art is fantastic, how the story unfolds is brilliant, everything about it is beyond perfect.

From the minds of artists/storytellers Jesse Labbé and Anthony Coffey comes this epic tale of two adorable, fur-covered races doomed by their own escalating violence! The Ele-Alta and the Cropones wage war over the island of Berona’s most desirable piece of real estate: the land called Amity. Cute and cuddly on the outside, but ferocious to the core, these fuzzy fighters will continue their bloodshed no matter the cost! The BERONA’S WAR VOL. 1: FIELD GUIDE provides a great introduction to the world of BERONA’S WAR, featuring maps, devious strategies, weapons, character and troop descriptions and the history of wartime events. This is the perfect primer for the upcoming BERONA’S WAR VOL. 2: FIGHT FOR AMITY!

Written and illustrated by Jesse Labbé and Anthony Coffey, everything about this graphic novel is just fantastic.  From the creative cast of characters and the fictional world and war they inhabit to the packaging of the book is just beyond top notch.

The 160 page book is just amazing in every aspect.  The character design and story is just perfect, but what really stands out is the presentation.  The pages are made to look like yellow lined paper, as if we’re reading someone’s journal chronicling this world.  Pictures are “taped” on or held with paper clips adding an amazing touch that’s so often missing in comics.  You can tell tons of thought and just plain old love went into creating this treat to read.

Now, onto some full stories staring these crazy, violent and cute creatures.  A must buy.

Plot: The entire point of this book is to introduce you to this world.  It’s similar to a role playing game source book it breaks down the characters, units, creatures and history of this fantastic world.  Most importantly it makes me walk away wanting to read more about it.  Rating: 10

Art: The art style is fantastic and reminiscent of some of the indie video games out there like Castle Crashers.  It’s comical, but still fits the storyline.  The character designs are top notch and each character has a very distinct personality.  The detail level when it comes to the characters and background is perfect.  And I don’t even feel like I need to go further into the page designs, they’re as fantastic as described.  Rating: 10

Overall Rating: Anthony Coffey  and Jesse Labbé have put together a top notch product here.  The world is well thought out and just amazing, the artwork is so much fun to look at and the page presentation is unheard of.  This isn’t a story plotted out, this is a world created.  Overall rating: 10

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 160 pages    Price: $19.95     Release: Wednesday 9/1/2010

Archaia provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.