Mania Grade: B+
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Art Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translation Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 10.99
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 978-1427814968
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Left to Right
- Series: WarCraft
World of Warcraft: Death Knight
World of Warcraft: Death Knight Manga Review
By Kate O'Neil
September 29, 2010
Release Date: December 01, 2009
World of Warcraft: Death Knight
A bloody recount of loss and redemption in the World of Warcraft.
Story: Dan Jolley
Art: Rocio Zucchi with Altercomics
What They Say
In World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Thassarian is a renegade death knight, one of the few of his kind to be free of the Lich King’s control. Although Thassarian has turned his incredible powers against his former master, he remains feared and despised by most of his Alliance allies. Countless players have aided Thassarian in game as he battles against the Lich King’s agents in Northrend, but few fans know the details of his former life. “Death Knight” is Thassarian’s story, a tale that reveals the origins, motivations, and darkest secrets of Warcraft’s newest incarnation of death knights.
The cover features an image of Thassarian brandishing two crossed swords in dark shades of blue with bright blue ethereal highlights, and it’s very eye-catching. The cover is matte with embossed elements; the back cover features a runic design with the text blurb. The paper quality isn’t that great, but the ink is crisp and the tone doesn’t bleed. Rocio Zucchi’s art is detailed and she finds a nice medium between the usual Warcraft designs and manga-style art. Panels are rarely confusing, even with all the elements vying for space. It has some of the best art I’ve seen yet for Tokyopop’s Warcraft releases. The toners knew what they were doing and the shading and inks are used with good effect. The narrator boxes, while few, use a font which doesn’t read very smoothly, but it’s not enough to be a detractor from the story. There are a couple of interviews, some production art, and editor’s notes at the back of this volume, along with a preview of Warcraft Legends volume 5.
Tokyopop continues its manga-style World of Warcraft tie-ins with a title featuring the newer Death Knight player class and game universe characters that players of the Lich King expansion have likely run into. Not having played in a long time myself, the details of the Lich King storyline are unknown to me. Luckily readers don’t have to have any exposure to follow along with Thassarian’s tale. The story is mostly self-contained and is explained well enough to avoid confusion. The story opens in the present in a town under attack by undead forces rampaging and mercilessly slaughtering everything is sight. Heads fly in this brutal scene, a surprisingly graphic way to open the story. A woman is dragged forward to be killed as a test of faith. Then the story jumps back to show what led up to battle.
Thassarian starts his life as a recruit training in the town where he lives with his mother and sister. Eventually, he’s called away to battle the undead forces in the north. His superiors tell him he doesn’t have the spark to be a leader, but he’s so eager to live up to the memory of his father, he’ll do whatever it takes in the eyes of his officers to become the perfect soldier. After a teary departure, he sails away with the rest of the soldiers. In the north, they come under attack from the Scourge, a massive undead army. The ranks are whittled down and in an act of treachery their ships are torched, leaving them stranded. Prince Arthas has disappeared during the fray and the remaining soldiers are trapped in a land with no food and no way out. So, Thassarian treks off on his own to find the lost prince but, instead, finds himself the first of many victims.
Coming back to the present, Prince Arthas has seized power and control, killing his father and leading his army of undead throughout the city. He brings Thassarian, now a death knight under his thrall, forward to prove his loyalty by killing his own mother. Surprisingly, he complies. Thassarian continues as a loyal knight under Arthas, slaughtering mercilessly and carrying out any orders given. He gains unlikely brothers in battle, an elf named Koltira, who he brings tragedy down upon. The battle continues until an outside force brings a moment of clarity to the death knights on one of the many fields of battle. This is the only confusing portion of the story, as it’s not clearly presented what force causes the undead knights to see their dead compatriots’ ghosts and, ultimately, free themselves from the Lich King’s hold. Now, Thassarian has only one goal, to bring down the Lich King. Yet more betrayal dogs his steps, even trying to trap him by using his sister as a hostage. Thassarian struggles with not belonging either to the living or the dead, and he must ultimately make his own decisions, and become a leader instead of a follower.
Warcraft lore fans will find the most enjoyment in this tale of Thassarian’s downfall and redemption. The art brings in a level of emotion that is lost when you’re just reading dialog boxes on a screen. The level of gore was unexpected for a 13+ title, with dismemberment and decapitation graphically depicted. Casual fans of Warcraft will find a simple but enjoyable story of betrayal and war, but might find the open ending unsatisfying. After all, Thassarian’s story is still ongoing in the game. It’s not enough of a hook to make you run for your credit card to start playing, but it’s certainly not a bad taste of the underlying lore of the Warcraft universe.