Sunday, November 15, 2009

World of Warcraft: Death Knight manga Impression

World of Warcraft: Death Knight manga
Origin stories are a mixed bag. On one hand they reveal the angst, mystery and mystery behind the seemingly most vile or heroic characters. World of Warcraft: Death Knight from Tokyopop is a manga that does exactly this for the renegade death knight Thassarian. Set in the very, very popular World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King, Death Knight takes the game offline to tell the story of Thassarian, a character whom many WoW players have helped in the Northrend to battle against the Lich King. Let’s take a look at a bit of Thassarian’s history and why gamers should give a Lich about him.

A loyal soldier to Lordaeron, one whom lives in his father Killoren shadow, of both his lessons and his heroic death, Thassarian lives to serve and follow orders. With his mother and sister he works as a farmer hoping for the one chance to gain promotion in the army ranks. Sadly he is not meant to lead, only to follow, and follow he does as Prince Arthas into the north for a campaign that will change his life forever. Betrayed by the prince and doomed to serve the Lich King Thassarian serves well and proves his loyalty in the most bitter way and continues to recruit more to the death knight banner until an encounter with spirits and ‘the light’ which helps the loyal servant break from the Lich King’s command. As one of the first free death knights Thassarian must manage his ties to his former life and his drive for vengeance while encountering humans that would willingly serve the Lich King. His story is far from over, but to understand the desired location one must see the path that came before.

Story wise what Death Knight does is something novels such as Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms have done quite few times, and that’s take a popular character, in this case character and class, and tell their back-story which ties into the larger story down the road. For Thassarian, he’s an online game character that Tokyopop is taking and expanding on the printed page. The tale moves along at a nice pace giving his background, how he came into his powers and how he formed his decision to fight the Lich King. What is not explored is the world around. Beyond the Scourge being present and the need to fight them time is not spent detailing who, what the Lich King is, how he creates death knights, not even how is father, Killoren, passed in battle. The story has a focus on Thassarian and does the job well of telling this tale. What this means to gamers is debatable. If gamers have encountered Thassarian, seeing where he came from may be of great interest, and as a one shot manga it works very well for telling the story and its cost as a manga.

The art style is a mix of East meets West as the manga influence is there, but the format reads left to right, more like a comic here in the states. The detail in both chacaracters and settings is well detailed but no character looks ultra realistic, this is the manga influence. Characters, settings and weapons are all very familiar looking and overall the art style is not too anime or too manga to alienate fans. The elves retain their unique Warcraft look as do brief glimpses of dwarves and other creatures of the realm. This art style is brought to life by Rocio Zucchi with the story crafted by a Warcraft manga vet Dan Jolley who’s worked on Warcraft: Legends.

Overall this is an excellent one-shot manga that helps to flesh out the background of a very popular character class and specific character seen in the Lich King expansion. For manga fans, fantasy genre especially, this is a great look into a game and world that they may or may not be part of and want to join. There are some nice bonus materials from an interview with Jolley to a look at Legends volume 5. A really good overall package with a good story and good art. This is coming from a non Warcraft player so views of fans may differ, but I’d be interested to see how.


  1. Looks like it's very interesting to read. Actually, I've always been a huge fan of the Warcraft lore which is why I shoudn't miss it. Anyway, thanks for sharing your impression on this WoW manga.

  2. Great post which seems to be interesting and informative about the World of war craft. world of war craft is the interesting game which I like most. I use to review the World of Warcraft guides to move across the various levels of the game.

  3. heel yeah, all hail Lich King.

  4. nice picture and of course the post