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Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 4 (ICONS)
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Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 4 (ICONS)

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The Field Guide Vol. 4 continues the definitive encyclopedia of superhero archetypes in modern comics. The final volume in the series is also the first volume available for Print on Demand!!

Written by Jason "Dr. Comics" Tondro, a literature professor who has focused his studies on comic books, the Field Guide is a gold mine of ideas and inspiration for your next hero. After a discussion of each archetype, the Field Guide then gives a fully fleshed out hero, suitable for immediate use as a PC or important NPC in your ICONS campaign.

Rather than break archetypes down by power set, the Field Guide looks at the character's origin and role in the story. This makes the archetypes much more versatile and puts the emphasis on character, rather than power. Archetypes detailed in part 4 include:

  • The Sidekick was trained by a veteran hero and usually has powers similar to that hero. He may be young and still in training, or else ready to go off on his own.
  • A Spin-Off Heroine is a female hero who is based on a male one. This gives her an ally and a reputation, but also a self-image problem.
  • The Super Cop is a public servant – usually but not always a policeman – who has become a superhuman or who is armed with high-tech weaponry.
  • The Super-Patriot wears a costume based on the flag. He personifies his national virtues and is highly respected, even though he has few powers.
  • The Super Weapon is an ordinary person who has either been given or has found vast cosmic power. Now he has to figure out how to use it.
  • The Ultimate Hero is one of the greatest heroes on the planet. He has many highly effective powers, but he is also forced into a leadership role and must abide by a strict moral code.
  • An Undersea Hero is at his best when in the ocean, exploring the depths or protecting it from exploitation by ignorant surface dwellers. He may be human or a resident of Atlantis.
  • The Woman Warrior is a very physical-minded heroine who eagerly exchanges punches with male musclemen.
  • The Weapon Master seldom has powers, but makes up for it by his mastery of one type of weapon, often laden with high-tech gadgets.
  • The Young Hero is a teenager with powers that he is just learning to control.

The Field Guide series contains material that may not be appropriate for younger readers. Parental discretion is advised when buying the material for young adults under the age of 14.

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December 24th, 2013
I gave a negative review of this series. I have come to regret this choice the more I reviewed this product. I now feel I should update my conclusions and try to be a more informative reviewer for my readers and not vent my financial venom into the RPG [...]
Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
July 27th, 2012
The fourth and presumably final issue of the Field Guide to Superheroes runs only about 2/3 as long as the others in page count, but serves as a worthy conclusion to the series. As with the other issues, Vol. 4 presents a series of superhero archetypes [...]
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