Love it or hate it Warcraft fans there is no denying the World of Warcraft manga series from Tokyopop has helped to expand the footprint of the franchise. Building out the world, characters and events beyond the games enhances the online experience but there is always risk. With stories and art that may stray from what the fan base loves, there is always the possibility to alienate fans. The latest offering, World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing volume1: The Dragons of Outland, brings together the excellent writing of Richard A. Knaak with the splendid art of Jae-Hwan Kim and delivers a story that picks up where the Sunwell Trilogy left off. What’s it all about and why should gamers care, let’s take a look …
The Story – Blue Dragon Tyrygosa and disgraced paladin Jorad Mace are reunited in the Outland on the other side of the dark portal. Having not seen each other since their encounter in the Ghostlands the two are quickly thrust into a mystery where black dragons are involved and nether dragons roam. Armies prepare to clash but at the moment survival is all that’s on Tyri and Jorad’s mind.
Having an understanding of the Sunwell Trilogy will help greatly in understanding Jorad and Tyri’s relationship but it’s not mandatory as the stage is set with some well delivered thought updates, in other words Jorad going through the events of the past. He’s a fallen paladin and must do whatever is necessary to get back his powers, make amends for his past. But, there’s always one, he is put in a situation that again sees him team up with Tyri who is not quite herself. There is something making the blue a bit off and its mystery time again. Knaak delivers his same, excellent storytelling and it’s only enhanced by Kim’s art.
The Design & Art – Jae-Hwan Kim rocks, nuff said. The characters look great, are not very manga-ish and should not be given Kim’s roots. It’s more a mixture of American fantasy and Korean manwha that is very detailed, expressive and captures the emotions of each character. Just check out King of Hell to see more of this excellent style that’s unique and not to be missed.
Why Gamers Should Care – First if you cared about the Sunwell Trilogy then Shadow Wing is a must. It is a piece of the World of Warcraft franchise one that does not try to replace or rewrite the world gamers love but rather expands on that world. Just like Star Wars fans who love the games and novels so too will WoW fans love the manga.
Overall, Shadow Wing continues the open ended story that Sunwell began. It’s an excellent story with outstanding art that has three fan bases. First is Richard A. Knaak, second Jae-Hwan Kim and third and of course the main is World of Warcraft. As the game goes strong and continues to grow so goes the spine off pieces of the franchise from novels to manga to action figures and more.