Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heresy in the Library - Visions of Heresy

Greetings good people and welcome back! Trooper here with another installment of "Heresy in the Library", where I review Black Library publications and let you, the reader at the other end of the data-slate, know how it is! Up for this review is the huge art collection Visions of Heresy, the revised and updated version of The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions. It's a huge, packed tome that accumulates every piece of artwork done so far for the Horus Heresy series into one single volume of work. So sit back, grab some amasec, and enjoy my review of Visions of Heresy!

Visions of Heresy

First, a shout out to my friend Kevin, who managed to hook me up with a copy of this book from Game Preserve North. Well, not so much hook up as ring me out and use my reward points to get the book. Since I don't need much in the way of models I figured I would pop my rewards points on the shiny new book.

Thanks Kevin!

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 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 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'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.

One final gripe though...there is a small teaser for the first Horus Heresy graphic novel Macragge's Honour. I know most people won't find fault with this, but if I am getting a huge compilation book I don't want teasers for a book that has already been pre-ordered and done with. Just seems like a bad strategy. The graphic novel looks cool, but by the time anyone sees Visions of Heresy it won't be available for purchase.


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.


  1. Hey thanks for posting up your thoughts on this. I already have a copy of Collected Visions. Does this new collection have enough revised content to be worth the purchase, or is it something more for collectors only? Other than the new introduction and a few extra artwork from the novels, was the text from the original revised to reflect the changes in the novels? Any significant replacements/revamps to the original images besides the cover?

  2. While I haven't ready through it all yet, my initial reading/look throughs have shown that the old text is there and mostly unchanged. The updated info (Signus Prime, Secret War, etc) reflects what has happened in the novels though and is written a bit "better" in my opinion.

    The older images do look better though. And the new artwork is spectacular. Black Library really stepped their game from when they first started the series. Other than that is is just Collected Visions revised. If you are a hardcore fan and want the new art...maybe find some high res photos for your desktop.

  3. Collected Visions should scratch that itch for awhile. I suspect we'll get another "update" in two or three years so unless there is a slew of new to wait until the end when we can nail down what the final book will be. :D

  4. Yeah, I'm really happy with Collected Visions, and while this is mighty tempting (if mostly for the extra John Blanche artwork), this isn't like Liber Chaotica where the content is already finalized and future reprints are just that, I'm sure there's going to be a revamp in a few years, and I'd rather not have three copies of the same book eventually.