Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Review
By: David "Xerin" Piner
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy is three volumes of manhwa (Korean for “comic”, think manga or comic) published by TokyoPop, written by Richard Knaak, and illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim. The three volumes were released a year apart starting from March 8, 2005 and finishing in March 13, 2007. They were named (in order): Dragon Hunt, Shadows of Ice, and Ghostlands. You can get them either from the Blizzard store, TokyoPop, or pretty much any book store that has a manga selection (although they may or may not carry it call ahead). They retail for $9.99 USD a volume.
The story of the three comics revolves around a dragon (from the blue dragonflight) shot out of the sky named Kalec (by dragon hunters) who then meets with a mysterious girl named Anveena. They go on an epic adventure where they run into dragon hunters (led by a wacky dwarf), undead, the surviving rangers in Quel’thas, and a few characters from the series like Sylvanas Windrunner and Lor’themar Theron. All of this happens within the time period between Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft.
If you couldn’t tell by the description that the story was generic; let me just tell you it is. The characters are not around long enough to build any true depth so you can’t really get a feel for them and the story contains so many clichés that it almost hurts. For someone like me who reads a lot of written media the story seems so dull and lacking. There is plenty of action but most of the time it wasn’t exciting (until the last volume when Sylvanas and Lor’themar show up).
The main character is your generic hero with lots of mystical power. The girl is your average girl with a mysterious past and contains an unknown power that no one knows what it is. The evil guys are all extremely generic and don’t even really stand out. The undead often carry their “ssss” like Golem from Lord of the Rings but that is only really good for a chuckle (and I assume realism due to the lack of a working jaw). That’s about the only thing that stuck out for me (other than Lorthemar being kinda cool).
The series isn’t bad, it’s just mediocre. There isn’t anything terrible with the story that makes you want to throw it down and stop reading. There is however nothing really good to say about it. I don’t think there is a proper word for between good and bad so I assume you’d just say “meh”. Then again that could just be expecting the Blizzard polish in a licensed product made outside of the Blizzard team. I’m not so sure that’s the case (since many licensed products are very good).
I will say one thing in its favor. That’s the art is very good and very well detailed. The art style isn’t so much Warcraft as it is Castlevania though. Seriously, most of the good guys look like Belmonts while one of the evil guys looks very close to Dracula himself. That isn’t to say the art is bad, its just slightly different than what you expect (which is what most Korean art is). I liked the art a lot.
Overall I’d suggest picking up this series only if you really like comics and you’re into the game lore. Everything that carries the Warcraft license is considered part of the main story so you’ll be getting some good information on some characters. However, if you really don’t like comics and you aren’t interested in the lore then you may find your money better spent elsewhere. In a way I enjoyed all three volumes (the last one the most) but I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to recommend them. If we had some fancy rating system I’d give it a “medium” score (as I said before between good and bad) of 2.5 out of 5 or 5 out of 10. Not noteworthy but decent.
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