Visions of Heresy
Visions of Heresy is a compilation art book detailing the artwork presented so far in the Horus Heresy series. It is important to note that this book is a combination of the previous limited run of Visions of Heresy Volume 1 and Volume 2, now presented in one collection and not in limited quantities. So thanks for that, Black Library.
Immediately you notice that both the dust jacket and the hardback are the same, depicting the new and updated version of The Emperor versus Horus. It's interesting that they finally redid this image, as the original one was hokey as hell and the most common depiction available didn't do us any justice. I will say that the full version of it is just...fantastic. It's titanic, climactic, and is about exactly what I imagined. My only gripe is that I imagined the Throne to be more...enclosed. But I'm open to more interpretation.
Past the cover we have what previous art books have given us...art. Simple, right? In the previous compilation the Horus Heresy was somewhat...infantile. It had been out for a few years, but it's spread of art was mostly kept to book covers. With Visions of Heresy, we're all updated for the book covers, novellas, and other media. Even better, like with Collected Visions, there are "alternative" artworks for a wide arrange of subjects. From Legionnaires to vehicles, these pieces of art range from professional looking drawings to something which might be seen on Deviantart. There are even new pieces to accompany the updated book cover art (The image from The Outcast Dead shows a bunch of astropaths and members of the Astra Telepathica) and it's kind of wonderful.
The book is split up into several sections and each section, in addition to the art, has accompanying text to explain the story as it progresses. The problem with this is that the text...well, it's kind of awful. Every conversation is highly formal and long winded. For example, Dorn and Malcador might have a discussion in this book and they might go like "Friend Dorn, long have I foreseen this outcome!". In a regular Black Library production this conversation would be much more relaxed and...natural. It seriously reads like a formal English mythbook. In many cases you would be better off just looking at the pictures and figuring out which point of the story you are at.
The big complaint I can see with this book is that, even though there is definitely new content...you are essentially paying a $70 price tag to have a bit more artwork. You also lose the Horus Heresy Trading Card Game lineup, which was a pretty cool addition to the original. Considering the trade off you get by trading in some extra content for more, newer art...it's a debate whether or not it is worth it. Honestly, if I hadn't had the opportunity to just pick it up...I might have passed it up.
So what are my thoughts? Well, this one is a mixed bag quite honestly. When I was gifted Collected Visions over two years ago I devoured the artwork, enjoyed the bad writing, and was impressed with the look of the book. Visions of Heresy is white paged and, outside of the awesome cover, feels...incomplete. It feels like an afterthought on Black Library's part. Don't get me wrong, it definitely is cool, but for casual players or someone debating on taking the plunge into Black Library it is going to be a turn off. $70 is a steep price to pay for a book, even if it is loaded full of Horus Heresy artwork.
But for the person with money to spend and a definite love for all things Horus Heresy (who might also have missed out on Collected Visions) then it is a fun pick up. It's 400+ pages of beautiful looking artwork in an excellent binding and awesome wrap around cover.
Plus, they pretty much dragged all of John Blanche's artwork out from the dark, which is beyond awesome.
This is Trooper, signing off.