The cleverly titled Sons of the Gun begins with an interesting introduction in which the authors describe the influence of firearms on comic-book superheroes. The gun-toting hero (or anti-hero), the book argues, is merely a modern interpretation of age-old character archetypes. I tend to agree, and I also happen to think that gunslinging superheroes make for interesting characters. This book contains 10 such characters, each suitable for use as a villainous addition to any supers campaign using the Mutants & Masterminds rules set.
In addition to each NPC's full stats and description, Sons of the Gun describes each character in a number of innovative ways. The first, called Origin in a Box, gives the GM ideas for tying a new hero's origin in with the origin or background of each villain. The Origin in a Box sections contain some neat ideas, and each is supported with fully detailed items, templates, and other rules bits.
The second new feature is called Story Point. These sections give the GM a few different hooks for working the new NPCs into his or her existing campaign. These sections often contain details such as new organizations and hero teams, but each is written in a generic enough way that a resourceful GM can use them with only slight modification.
The In Game section of each villain's description gives advice for working the villain in to an adventure. Where the Story Point focuses on how the character is connected to the world at large, this section gives more concrete ways the characters can be introduced to the heroes over the course of one or more adventures. This is where the real "adventure hooks" for each villain are listed.
Next, each villain is given an "Endgame", which describes a likely resolution to the character's plans...whether through his or her death, capture, or some other means. Coupled with the In Game information, the GM should have enough tools to introduce the new villain, put him or her in conflict with the PCs, and wrap things up at the end of the story arch.
As for the characters, it's hard to pick a best of this lot, as they are all very good. The authors did a nice job designing villains with a wide variety of backgrounds and powers. Sons of the Gun contains, among others, a villain with cursed handguns possessed with the spirit of an old west outlaw, a precognitive former CIA agent, and a soviet android. There are some similarities between these characters, and you certainly won't be able to make use of all of them. However, I could see at least three of them fitting right in to my current campaign, and I'll likely use a few more some time down the road.
Finally, the designers intended this product to serve as a kind of introduction to their campaign setting, called the Infiniverse. To this end, the book contains an appendix detailing a number of individuals and organizations that are mentioned in the villain descriptions. There are some things in this section that are certainly worth stealing for your own home campaign, and I look forward to seeing more products in this line.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This is a PDF with a very professional look to it. The ten villains detailed herein are well designed, and a Mutants & Masterminds GM should find at least a few that he can drop directly into his current or future campaigns. The added details, such as the End Game and Origin in a Box sections are very helpful, and they make this book stand out from similar NPC collections.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Whenever a book of characters is written around a single theme, there is bound to be some overlap. While I think that the authors did a good job making each character unique, no GM is going to be able to easily work 10 gun-toting villains into his campaign without things feeling a little overdone. Of course, Sons of the Gun wasn't written so that you would use all of its villains in one shot, so this is a very small point.
Also, the villains herein have strong connections to NPCs and organizations from the Infiverse setting. The authors did their best to make these groups generic enough that a GM can file off the serial numbers and tailor things to suit his or her campaign, but its worth pointing out that some work will have to be done in order to make these characters work for everyone.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>