Monday, December 29, 2008

Warcraft Legends vol. 2 Impression

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy from Tokyopop took the popular MMORPG and gave it a new avenue to explore the characters and settings of WoW. While this manga was met with mixed reviews this has not dissuaded Tokyopop from continuing the manga march with Warcraft Legends volume 2, a new manga that continues one story from volume 1 while crafting three other short stories in the World of Warcraft.

The cover, by Udon, will grab anyone’s attention with its slender night elf perched in a tree just begging the reader to open the cover. This is the proper approach needed for a franchise such as Warcraft. The Sunwell Trilogy was good, but these short stories hit the mark. Some are good, others not so much, but all of them give a taste of WoW without a series long commitment. Not being a WoW player I cannot speak for you, the true fan, but I do know you are getting stories set in the world you dedicate so much time too so from that standpoint it’s worth the look. If you like, then keep reading, if not you’re only out about $11 and can sell to a friend for a discount (good times). For me, worth it as I love fantasy manga, but let’s takes a look at each story and its art.

Fear (part 2) - Richard A. Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim return from their work on The Sunwell Trilogy to tell the tale of Trag Highmountain, his downfall since the Sunwell Trilogy and journey to resist and confront the Lich King who calls to him. Knaak’s story telling is again superb as he touches on the inner-workings of the participants, this time the orc Thrall who tries to help Trag. Readers learn more about the orc liberator as well as see a change in Trag, a good story that will continue in volume 3. Kim’s art is great, always has been from King of Hell till now and it’s by far the best in this book. Fear could stand alone as its own manga, but pairing it with other stories in multiple volumes is a great way to expose the manga to many. Book is worth the buy for this story alone.

Warrior: Divided - If Fear is the hot girl at the bar, guess who Warriors: Divided is? Call in the wing man, this story of orphan twins, one raised by dwarves the other elves, is not pretty. Lieren, raised by dwarves, discovers she has a twin sister, Loania, raised by elves and together they learn their human father was killed, as was their mother. They go on a journey to learn about themselves only to confront their dead mother and save her soul. Yeah, the story is rushed, tries to feel sad and noble, but does neither. The art, not good, was this someone who lost rising stars of manga? Not going to mention anymore, names, nada about this story, it’s not good.

Miles to Go - Kova Broadhorn, a tauren shaman is sent on a journey to find an orc seer and return with her to her village. She’s told along her journey she will encounter help, and does … sort of. Kova meets up with the gnome warrior Miles Corebender who envisioned Kova in a dream. The two set off on their journey, encounter a rogue, defeat the rogue and discover themselves along the way, Kova that she can cope with battle, Miles being brought down a few pegs in his quest for an epic tale about himself. Did I leave out the funny? Yeah, this is a very funny story with good, light art to match the mood, a very short and another very cow hero they way the jab at each other is enjoyable and what short stories are all about. Good art, funny story with known characters and settings, this will make WoW fans smile as it does not take itself serious and is like a random quest.

Family Values - Jaruk Bloodfyre an orc torn between his beliefs and the drive of his tribe led by his blood thirsty brother J’argg. Jaruk cannot stand the bloodshed of the draenei and eventually rescues a girl, Leena, and is hunted by his own kind, his own brother. Without revealing too much more the ending of this story is satisfying and everything before also serves the reader well. Not too deep, not too shallow, just right for a side story, background on an impactful characters in WoW. The violence of the world is shown in this story, but the art feels more like a children’s book, Orc’s by the numbers, nobody really memorable except for Leena (you’ll see). Yeah, ok to read but so-so overall.

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