Tuesday, September 14, 2010

World of Warcraft: Mage

Story by Richard A. Knaak with Art by Ryo Kawakami
Published by TokyoPop

Slugline:  Treachery that can be seen from up high. 

Aodhan is a trainee mage in the flying city of Dalaran.  He became a trainee despite the opposition of his warrior family that did not see the usefulness of mage skills as compared to the family’s tradition so Aodhan instead follows his uncle Crevan’s example.  When Dalaran is attacked by blue dragons, Aodhan learns that Crevan’s example is perhaps not the best one to follow when he tricks Aodhan into releasing him from prison.  As the attack continues, Aodhan realizes that his uncle is not as virtuous as he had once thought and that the trainers who were so hard on him were so to make sure he did not make the same his mistakes as his uncle.  With that in mind, Aodhan manages to turn the tables on his uncle and help save Dalaran. 

This story would have been better served as a short story rather than filling an entire volume.  Mage is part of the classes line of Warcraft manga but what makes the class different and special wasn’t shown here.  This was a fairly typical ‘boy finds out his inspiration has feet of clay while people he not had much respect for have more wisdom that he thought’ story.  Variations of this story are fairly common but rather than trying to make interesting twists on it, pages are filled up with essentially meaningless fight and chase scenes that only make it clear that Aodhan's uncle is up to something while Aodhan stays clueless.  Meanwhile, some things are hand waved away rather spending pages to set things up for the story in order to make room for those fight and chase scenes.  There are a couple nice bits where items introduced earlier in the story are revealed to have more than one use but it that effort would have better spent working on making sure that the story held together better. 

World of Warcraft: Mage is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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