Ten years after the last book in his Blood Bowl series (Rumble in the Jungle) was published, Matt Forbeck returns to Black Library with a brand new Blood Bowl short story, The Hack Attack. Joined by ageing team captain Dirk Hoffnung, the legendary Jim and Bob take us on a retrospective journey through the recent history of the Bad Bay Hackers, focusing mostly on Dirk and his brother, Dunk. Along the way they relive key moments from famous matches, and post the question to Dirk of what he plans to do when he finally hangs his boots up.
It’s a nice concept, returning to a classic story and bringing it up to date, along the way introducing some of the key characters to anyone who hasn’t read the series [like me]. Pitching it as a sort of This Is Your Life-style TV show with Jim and Bob should have meant this was an instant winner, but in fact it somehow manages to fall a little flat, not least because while a little bit of Jim and Bob’s exclamation-filled back and forth commentary is a clichéd guilty pleasure, a whole story of it just feels disjointed and overly cheesy. The story itself tries to offer a whistle-stop tour of Dirk and Dunk’s history but doesn’t provide enough depth for new readers to get a feel for the characters.
Perhaps it’s more effective for readers familiar with Forbeck’s series, but it feels like a first misstep for the new range of Blood Bowl fiction.