Pullbox Reviews C.R.I.T. #5: Intestinal Fortitude- Tabletop gamers rolling a Natural 20 on Initiative

  • C.R.I.T. #5: Intestinal Fortitude
  • Home Brewed Heroes
  • Story by:
    • Christopher Michael
    • Austin Ferguson
    • Brad Haynes
    • Obie Dancy
    • Ryan Kidd
    • Terryl Wilkins
  • Illustrated by Christopher Michael
  • Colors by Cristiano Cruz
  • Letters by Christopher Michael
  • Cover by:
    • Mo Lubisan
    • Nestor Redulla Jr

C.R.I.T. traveled to Georgia to investigate reports of supernatural crimes thinking that they were committed by the Masters of Mayhem. What they found was a group of escaped victims that had been experimented on by Bolivar Trasque and his team at Alchem-X, leaving them with newfound abilities and mutations. After confronting these escapees, C.R.I.T. is determined to end these experiments. Prepare for the…

Attack on Alchem-X!

If you talk to the average group of tabletop role playing gamers, chances are decent that they’ll have stories to tell about their adventures around the Table. I can personally tell you a story about a rogue, excited to be part of a group after an extended hiatus, who thought throwing darts at attacking skeletons was pretty badass. Hint: in third edition D&D, skeletons were not impressed with darts.

Going on twenty years later and yeah… I’m still hearing about that little misadventure.

Still, the average rpg group probably doesn’t have the determination or the moxie to do what the folks at Home Brewed Heroes did. Game Master Christopher Michael started recording their sessions of homebrewed mayhem, using the in-game banter from around the Table as the dialogue for a comicbook series and using their ongoing stories as its basis. Based on that, and that alone, I have to give this creative team (see above for the full list of gamers) mega props & a collective high-five! So it was that when co-creator & primary artist Christopher Michael sent me a copy of their fifth issue, I got excited (much like the aforementioned rogue) and went to the HBH website to purchase the other five (issue 0 included at no charge) so I could get the full effect.

That really was a great call.

From the start, CRIT (Covert Reconnaissance Infiltration Team) was an entertaining read, and the fun the crew had putting it all together is obvious. Where some will think that the rambling in between action scenes might slow the story down, others are going to see it for what it is- absolutely inane and thoroughly entertaining rambling banter among friends. Those “others” are, in fact, going to be CRIT’s target audience. The ongoing narrative that’s being delivered is almost secondary to the team’s interactions, although as I wrapped up my read through on issues 0-5 it was pretty plain that Christopher Michael had a plan as the group’s GM. Readers are introduced to a band of kinda/sorta heroes, all with very different and not always wholesome motivations, who progress through their misadventures and come out a united team of misfits on the other side. Each is gifted, through their individual players, with a unique personality that comes across naturally instead of concocted.

Where I’ve got to give CRIT some deserved props is in the progression of Christopher Michael’s artwork. While I can’t say that it’s always been even or consistent, I can whole-heartedly say that it’s progressed quite a bit over a relatively short number of issues. Michael has put in the work, he’s dug in his heels, and I hope that he’s done a side-by-side comparison of his early work and the latest stuff. Even through all the talky-talk panels, his layouts & ever-improving character work keep things interesting. When the fighting starts, Michael has put a lot of effort into the dynamics of an action scene with a great focus on perspective & body mechanics. The final coats of polish are still in the works, mainly in some close ups on facial features that could have been better proportioned, but with the advances Michael has taken so far he’s on his way.

If there were a single area where I’d say improvements are almost mandatory, it would have to be in the lettering. The dialogue balloons are laid out with more reliance on a top to bottom alignment than left to right. It’s not horrible, and I did get used to it, but a reader’s eyes are generally pulled in the opposite order, left to right first. It didn’t make the series unreadable by any stretch, but it provided me with a couple stumbling blocks along the way.

Taken as a whole, CRIT is a worthwhile read for anyone who’s spent time around a table rolling plastic polyhedral dice. The HBH team has made it a little bit easier for interested readers to get started, putting the digital download of issue #0 up free of charge. From there, digital comics are insanely reasonably priced at $.99 an issue, or $5.99 if you prefer your comics in print.

Cool logo, too…

Do you like your heroes a little quirky? Do you want to read a true labor of love? Do you have bookshelves filled with a ridiculously large number of gaming books, many of which you’ve never had the chance to use? I’d like to encourage you to take a chance (first book is free, so how big a risk we talking?) on  Home Brewed Heroes & the Covert Reconnaissance Infiltration Team.

Final Score: 10/13

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