Monday, April 17, 2006

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, v.1, Dragon Hunt

Written by Richard A. Knaak and Illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim
Published in the U.S. by TokyoPop

Slugline: A group of fantasy adventurers gather together to adventure in the world of Warcraft, in a by-the-checklist way.

Warcraft, as I am sure most readers here know, is a very popular computer game, with RPG and wargame versions. This is a manga adaptation of Warcraft, based on the world background of the game. According to reputable sources, this was one of, if not the best selling manga of last year.

I think that testifies to the strength of the world rather than any intrinsic worth of the manga itself. While the art is good, in a very detailed and toned manner, it's not that unique or special. The story felt very checklisted. I never really connected to any of the characters or situations in the story. Immediately distancing was a written prologue that told the history of Warcraft world, which turned out to be completely unnecessary to understand the manga, but felt so baroque that I almost didn't finish it as it threw out names and events that were then never referenced to again.

The checklist feeling came from how the party got together, one of each character race, a spread of character classes, along with the requisite mysterious character of uncertain past that is definitely going to have something to do with the story arc. The story itself is a run-of-the-mill quest for a mystical device of great power. I understand that the creators needed to introduce certain story elements to fulfill the expectations of Warcraft fans, but for everyone else it seems redundant and uninspiring.

That being said, the title may be worth a higher rating if you are already a fan of Warcraft, but this title will not make you a fan if you are not already, which is why I give it a two. It isn't bad, but has nothing really to recommend it either.

- Ferdinand

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