Graphic Novel Review: World of WarCraft: Ashbringer

(Titan Books �10.99)

Writer Micky Neilson, artist Ludo Lullabi

THE imagine the development of comic book series based around role-playing games dates back as far as the 1980s, when DC published highly-successful spin-offs from the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons franchise, including Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Spelljammer. With the old dice and paper version of the RPG now replaced by massive multiplayer online versions, the comic adaptation has evolved as well, using the template of the games to tell stories set in these sweeping realities.

Tied in to the expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King, this volume finds the human kingdom of Lordaeron ravaged by the Lich King’s undead minions. The Highlord Alexandros Mograine is destined to wield a mighty blade forged from a dark orb, but until then he must fight for his life to defend the Hope Chapel from a relentless onslaught by the seemingly unstoppable Scourge army.

Illustrated by Ludo Lullabi in a somewhat unconventional Manga-influenced style, Micky Neilson’s script tries to make his story as welcoming to newcomers as possible, without detracting from any of the rich detail which makes up the World of WarCraft universe. The dialogue is either weighed down with Tolkienesque phrases, or trying too hard to capture a contemporary feel, and therefore comes across as a bit clunky.

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As a comic book designed to lure in new readers who are already immersed in the World of WarCraft RPG, it succeeds on every level, but for anyone not already up to speed with the series there is a danger it is still far too inaccessible, which is a shame when you consider the need for the comics industry as a whole to attract a fresh audience to ensure its long-term survival.

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