Welcome to the World of Warcraft… again.
The success of World of Warcraft is well known. It is the largest and most commercially successful MMO to date. Series like The Guild have been made possible by the huge fan following of this game. The triumph of this franchise has spawned several previous Manga titles as well as single stories based on the many character class options available. World of Warcraft Mage and Shadow Wing: The Dragons of Outland are the latest releases.
Because both World of Warcraft Mage and Shadow Wing: The Dragons of Outland are written by same author and dropped on the same day, I’ll treat both of them in this comprehensive review. Unlike most Mangas on the market, both Mage and the new Shadow Wing forsake the standard format of pages reading right to left and follows the traditional American-English format. I appreciate this departure from the norm and found it much easier to fly through both of these.
World of Warcraft Mage
Mage kicks off with the city of Dalaran under siege from the great dragon Aspect Myogus and his Blue dragon clan. Aodhan, a young mage, is eager to join the fight but is not allowed because of his inexperience. Regardless, when the fighting breaks out, he is called to the Violet Hold for a special purpose unbeknownst to him. There he meets and releases his uncle Crevan, whose intentions are less than honorable. Now Aodhan must use every trick he knows to stop a mad man from destroying the great floating city.
World of Warcraft Shadow Wing: The Dragons of Outland
The prequel to the upcoming PC expansion Cataclysm, Shadow Wing begins with the human alliance and the horde taking siege of the portal between Azeroth and Outland. Jarod, our main protagonist, is a paladin that has been forsaken and stripped of his ability to use the Holy Light. Eager to prove his worth and regain his power, he rushes to deliver a message to Honor Hold. In doing so he crosses path with Tyri, an elf from his past, who can transform into a blue dragon. As they work together to deliver the message, they witness a pair of nether dragons before being brought down by the Death Knight Ragnok.
Instead of being captured by Ragnok, a pair of Nether dragons interfere and Jarod is discovered by the “Broken,” a clan of Draenei who also fight the demons. Determined to find out where the dragons roost, Tyri demands that the Draenei help them. The clan leader Warrith accompanies Jarod and Tyri in tracking down the dragons. Once they find the lair, Warrith is killed and Jarod is taken by a Nether dragon. Once inside the lair, Tyri finds what will bring about the destruction of their world…
The standard for artwork across all of the WOW Manga series is grade A awesome and Mage as well as Shadow Wing are no different. Jae-Hwan Kim does a fantastic job of creating extremely detailed characters with excellent shading. The Death Knight Ragnok looks particularly awesome with part of his face lost and the musculature showing underneath. Ryo Kawakami does just as good of a job but with more of a cartoon-like feel to his characters. The detail used in the drawing of the escaped creatures is amazing.
The font that they use in each of these volumes as they tell bits and pieces of the back story is incredibly hard to read. In Mage, it’s how the floating city of Dalaran was created, elevated and how it reached its current status. In Shadow Wing, it’s how the Alliance discovered Outland and the state of the war with the demons. Considering that a large part of these volumes involve copious back story on how the lead characters arrived at their current situation, it frustrated me as a reader.
My largest complaint with World of Warcraft Mage is its length. It delivers a fast paced story that is over far too quickly. Because of that, none of the characters are really that memorable and the story is a little too predictable for my tastes. When Aodhan finds his uncle Crevan and he turned out to be something other than he claimed, I guessed it long beforehand. After that, it plays out as you’d expect with an ending you’ll see coming long before you read it.
Mageoffers a great short story in the WOW universe that fans of the game as well as Manga fans in general will like. Despite its over clichéd story, Mage offers some memorable action sequences that will keep you turning pages until this short tale is over.
ComicsOnline gives World of Warcraft Mage 3.5 out of 5 true mages.
Shadow Wingdevelops a much more robust story than Mage and because this is volume one of a series, I expect that the story will only get better as it goes on. It begins a tale that emphasizes everything that’s cool about WOW and runs with it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next volume in the series.
ComicsOnline gives World of Warcraft Shadow Wing: The Dragons of Outland volume one 4.5 out of 5 warhammers.
Buy World of Warcraft Mage at Amazon.com now.
Buy World of Warcraft Shadow Wing: The Dragons of Outland at Amazon.com now.
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