The Black Legion

Perhaps out of nostalgia, (because I can’t think of any better reason) I downloaded a Games Workshop novel about Space Marines. It’s a few hundred pages of eight foot tall, genetically modified supersoldiers murdering one anorher, but with huge amounts of baroque detail about civil wars, cursed planets and demons everywhere.
When I was a wee lad, I thought Warhammer 40,000 was some sort of futuristic wargame, rather than the grimdark, everything-is-covered-in-ordure-and-we’re-all-going-to-die religious dystopia that Games Workshop had in mind. And bear in mind, that was First Edition, when the grimdark was at its lowest and there was some humour. 30 years later, it’s sort of entertaining in a fall-of-the-Roman Empire-with-chainswords-and-power-armour way; enjoyable, but you feel ashamed telling anyone else about it.

Anyways, the Black Legion are the Chaos Space Marines, which means they’re the bad guys. But the Imperial Space Marines are also brain washed super murder monks so there’s not much to go between them, it’s all down to a strange and massive civil war 10,000 years ago, and half the battle scenes in this book are completely glossed over (the rest are pretty decent).

There’s a lot of stuff in this book that’s hard to explain unless you’ve read a lot of the fluff around Warhammer 40,000. (Fluff is all the background, as opposed to the rules for smashing armies of miniatures against one another.) But I’ve been away from the game for a few decades and I could still figure most of it out.

There’s character development (insofar as people get better, or more nuanced reasons for wanting to decapitate each other). It’s nice that it paints a sympathetic picture of the standard bad guys from the milieu, so it has that going for it, but at the end of the day I’m really not sure why I read it, or how it commanded my attention for 6 hours. Oh well. Ever onward.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.