It follows CC1, which is "Creature Compendium" and is subtitled "Over 200 Monsters, from Abysmal to Zathoa, for your Old-school Adventures and Campaigns". CC1 is also flagged with "for use with 0E/1E/BX".
The d30 books drew me towards the CC1, and the white scorpion on the cover made me order. I love the illuminated letters starting each CC1 section, an illuminated letter and an horizontal list of the monster names starting with this letter, like the 1977 original Monster Manual.
This CC1 is very strong because it invokes this Ur Monster Manual and also because all the illustrations are by the author, Richard J. LeBlanc and they are also reminiscent of the venerable tome.
My favourite monster from CC1 is the Saleerandee, it's a reptilian pixie with a pointy sword. And there is the Akaname as well, a yōkai that found its way into those pages. A nice surprise.
CC2 is illustrated by many people, and unfortunately, although each image is inspiring, the heterogeneity dilutes the impact of the monsters.
Also, the illuminated letters are gone, and the layout, while still being two columns, goes one third left for the stat blocks and two thirds rights for the description text. The lovely mess that CC1 unravels is avoided, but it feels a bit austere.
CC2 has only "BX" stats but it adds for each monster a dedicated reaction table. This table motivated me to write this post, I like the idea a lot. It's a hook in the encounter mechanism, that probably helps remembering to apply the mechanism itself, and adds flavour to the monster.
I have trouble finding a favourite monster in CC2 though, maybe the Daemonbear, just because the name rolls easily, maybe "Camembert". The Katero "ethereal monkey-cat, always playful, often annoying" could be fun as well.
CC2 for the reaction tables by monster. CC1 for the Monster Manual feel. With 200 monsters each, there's probably enough inspiration in them for many sessions.
Maybe, after all these years, we need an annotated Monster Manual, all those monsters have been encountered and stories have been generated. Some of them need to be written down. The Symbaroum bestiary has these scholars commenting on the monsters, why not ask the adventurers that experienced those monsters first hand (and survived)?
The CC2 reaction tables are nice. It makes me wonder if a bestiary could have a dozen of prepared reaction tables, with each a strong name, and a monster stat block would say "Reactions: Cautious" or "Reactions: Fearful, Aggressive at night". Too bad, the lookup time slows the encounter down.