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Comicworld Ukraine $3.39
Publisher: GRAmel
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2013 14:05:16

I've recently become interested in the history of Crimea and the Ukraine, so several months ago when Comicworld: Ukraine was offered as part of a bundle, I was excited. I was a little disappointed that it was not written by someone from the area, but the unique approach is something that deserves a second look.

The United States (and to a lesser degree Canada and the United Kingdoms) have always had nationalist superheroes in several different worlds. The concept of fighting for "The American Way" is central to the idea of many heroes. So we assume that Ukrainian superheroes would fight for "the Ukrainian Way". Comicworld: Ukraine points out that nationalism is only one of many strains of ideology at work in the area, and not necessarily the most powerful one.

The supplement consists first of a description of several strains of thought or ideology that might be at stake in a superhero's life in the area. This is probably the most innovative part of the material. It recognizes that superheroes are really the embodiments of broad, abstract ideas, whether it be "the common man" or "the American way" or "kill the criminals". By tracing out the various ideas at work in Ukrainian culture, this provides a rich background for characters to really be linked to and contending for something significant.

The second is a very broad-brush but solid history of the area, more a primer than a textbook. Each section also contains adventure hooks related to things that happened in that era. Third is a collection of a few simple characters, one heroine and several villains. Finally there's a section on Slavic mythology, which I had not been exposed to before, although it doesn't follow in the footsteps of previous sections and provide assistance in incorporating the mythology into a campaign.

I'm reviewer tilting this one up one star because I absolutely love the approach and the subject matter. Looking at things in a more international way is a benefit of the Internet and supplements like this, which could simply never survive in a print-only RPG world, are ideal for an electronic supplement. Not to mention the price is right!

However, there are many typographical errors (including of place names and (gulp) in the OGL), no bookmarks, and the odd background images make the material difficult to print out. If the formatting were improved, this could be a four-star supplement for sure. Other comic book RPG creators should take note of the "life of the mind" portion of the supplement - you're not just dealing with super-strong people, you're dealing with larger-than-life people, with larger-than-life motivations.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Comicworld Ukraine
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