World of Warcraft: Comic Collection Volume One

By Raphael Ahad, Robert Brooks, Matt Burns, Christie Golden, Micky Neilson, Andrew Robinson, Antonio Bifulco, Linda Cavallini, Sebastian Cheng, Alex Horley, David Kegg, Ludo Lullabi, Miko Montilló, Nesskain, Suqling, Emanuele Tenderini & various (Blizzard Entertainment/Titan Books)
ISBN: 978-1-95036-613-2 (HB Blizzard Entertainment) 978-1-78909-646-0 (HB Titan Books)

World of Warcraft is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that began in 2004. It’s very popular.

If you needed to look up any part of that paragraph, this might not be the book for you – although if you’re a fantasy fan with a penchant for convoluted sagas and love of bombastic comics art, it might be worth sticking around to the end of the review.

Like Tolkein’s Middle Earth, Game of Thrones or other complex invented environments, WoW is more about worldbuilding and made-up history than individual heroes like Conan or Elric excelling and triumphing. Here variety is the spice of life (and Unlife, Orc-kind, wizards, Dwarves, Gnomes, automata etc). This collection of tales – originally an online supplement and enticement to the game – might feel a little formulaic, but that’s pretty much the point…

These lavish auxiliary tales were all released between 2014- 2018 as World of Warcraft: Warlords of Drainor, World of Warcraft: Legion, and World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth: moody, action-heavy and suspenseful vignettes, packaged as digital comics miniseries specifically linked to one of the eight Expansion Packs released to sustain that frantic MMORPG mythmaking momentum.

First freshly arrayed in Warlords of Draenor as ‘Gul’Dan and the Stranger’ (by Micky Neilson & Alex Horley), the opening yarn reveals bloodshed brewing, whilst ‘Blackhand’ (Robert Brooks & Horley) details the fate of the feared and fabled Doomhammer, before ‘Blood and Thunder’ (Raphael Ahad, Cynthia Hall & Horley) offers some historical context with the origins of mighty warrior the Iron Wolf

Legion opens with Matt Burns & Ludo Lullabi’s ‘Magni: Fault Lines’ as the daughter of the venerable King under the Mountain awakens him to meet the growing crisis facing the dwarves. Meanwhile, Night Elves are having a few difficulties with monstrous Gul’Dan in ‘Nightborne: Twilight of Suramar’ (Burns & Lullabi) whilst the animalistic tribes are called to action in ‘Highmountain: A Mountain Divided’ (Brooks & David Kegg) before the humans of Stormwind Keep survive a royal assassination attempt, inspiring King Wrynn to mobilise in Brooks & Nesskain’s ‘Anduin: Son of the Wolf’

It ends with reports from the Battle for Azeroth, as a repentant mage reassesses her life choices in ‘Jaina: Reunion’(Andrew Robinson, Linda Cavallini & Emanuele Tenderini) before wandering Dwarf-King ‘Magni: The Speaker’ (Burns & Suqling) endures a moment of existential crisis…

Steve Danuser, Christie Golden, Robinson, Antonio Bifulco & Sebastian Cheng detail the past and futures of ‘Windrunner: Three Sisters’ after which the gathering storms pause with the salutary tale of ‘Mechagon’ (by Burns & Miko Montilló), proving you should watch what you wish for even if you’re a dedicated master smith like Kervo the Explorer

Garnishing all the drama and mayhem, the book also offers a vast selection of production art – from preliminary designs and roughs to full finished pages – in a Sketchbook section.

Gathered into a lavish luxury hardback that just screams “Christmas gift”, these adventures won’t be everyone’s goblet of grog, but for those who covertly yearn to resolve their daily annoyances with a honking great Warhammer or dismemberment spell, this should be subject of your very next quest…
World of Warcraft: Comic Collection © 2020 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.