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Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Ultimate Edition)

Review

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Ultimate Edition)

Let’s be straight here. Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy is manga for young fantasy and video game enthusiasts, not literary aficionados.

The book opens with a fully colored, eight-page spread that introduces the reader to past events, then slams the reader with another eight pages of solid text on the history of the WarCraft universe. Not kidding. It actually begins with, “No one knows exactly how the universe began . . .” While this may be fascinating to any fan of the franchise, it’s not all that necessary to the manga itself.

Kelecgos is a young man making his own way in the world, but it can be difficult when you’re also a blue dragon and bounty hunters are on your tail. Kalecgos gets caught in a net but is rescued by a local maiden named Anveena. She helps Kalecgos make an escape at the cost of her family’s wellbeing.

While on the run, they cross paths with an elfin sorcerer named Dar’Khan, who believes that the two know something about the legendary lost Sunwell. The Sunwell was the fountain of the high elves’ society centuries ago. With the blessing of the evil Lord Arthras, Dar’Khan seeks to capture the power of the Sunwell.

The story unfolds very much like a typical role-playing video game, which is one reason it could make for a decent introduction to manga for young readers. Form a party, travel the world, do battle, rinse, repeat until the climactic battle at the end. It’s very typical, but the formula works. Another reason novice readers may enjoy this as a transitional manga is because the pages read left to right like American graphic novels. It also offers a very strong east-meet-west art style with well-proportioned characters and plenty of attention to detail.

More advanced readers may find themselves banging their heads against a wall over the clichéd dialogue choices and complete irrelevance of many characters. Even Kalecgos himself is not vital to the plot. This is Anveena’s story, which just happens to be told through Kalecgos’s eyes. The plot gets overly complicated and padded with scenes that serve little to no purpose. Really, why do we have to meet Baron Mordis and his Tauren servant, Trag? In a longer, episodic series, their scenes would make sense; but this is a trilogy, where every scene should serve a purpose and be to the point.

Deep breath. Let it go.

Sometimes it’s just necessary to let go of being nitpicky and simply know that somewhere, this manga is getting someone to read more than a couple lines from an NPC in Northshire Valley. No, gamers are not illiterate. We like books just as much as the next person. Some of us just need a little push to get started, andWarcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy could be a way to do that.

Reviewed by Courtney Kraft on October 16, 2006

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Ultimate Edition)
by Richard A. Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim

  • Publication Date: October 16, 2007
  • Genres: Manga
  • Hardcover: 504 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 142780690X
  • ISBN-13: 9781427806901