First of all, no manga should ever start with eight pages of solid text.
Secondly, no manga should ever begin those eight pages of solid text with, “No one knows exactly how the universe began...”
Oh, for the love of Casey Schreiner!
WarCraft The Sunwell Trilogy Ultimate Edition by Richard Knaak and illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim is a manga-style compilation of three volumes (durr) set in the WarCraft universe (again, durr). The storyline weaves a tale about Kalec, a blue dragon, who meets Anveena, a human fair damsel; and embarks on a journey that really has nothing to do with Kalec in the first place.
Kalec’s buddy Tyri saves them from a dwarf bounty hunter who sees the light, vows to be their friend, and then never shows his face for the rest of the manga. There’s an evil blood elf named...oh who cares? He wants to capture Anveena cause she’s actually the Sunwell in disguise, only no one knows it (except us. We saw it coming cause we watched season five of Buffy). Kalec & Co. make friends, and there’s some undead dude causing trouble, but doesn’t serve any purpose except to fill the second volume. There are two mildly interesting characters, a tauren and a paladin, but they too don’t seem to do anything plot-relevant. Oh yeah, and there’s some baby dragon...thing that functions as a GPS.
The above paragraph illustrates what it felt like reading this manga. It’s a typical RPG plot that’s filled with pointless action and excessive characters that only serve to pad the pages. Too much stuff and not enough substance.
As for the dialogue and writing, the Robot Devil from Futurama describes it best: “Your lyrics lack subtlety! You can't just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!”
However, there is a redeeming quality to this trilogy and that’s the artwork. It’s not Japanese manga, it’s manga-style...sort of. It has anime eyes and it’s grayscale, so that’s pretty much it. Despite the east-meets-west style, the art is very solid and pays a lot of attention to detail and proportions. We should also mention that the Ultimate Edition offers eight lovely pages of full color art at the front of the book that gives readers a little insight into the back story.
Then it assumes you’re stupid and slams you with those eight pages of solid text about the history of the universe we mentioned earlier.
Who is this manga for? This one is for the hardest of hardcore WarCraft fans. If you just can’t get enough of the universe, then try it out. Don’t expect anything moving and epic. Accept that it’s overcomplicated but well drawn, and you won’t be too disappointed.
Kinda like the Transformers movie.
-- Courtney Kraft