Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Metzen, Matt Burns, Robert Brooks
Artist: Peter Lee, Joseph Lacroix
Release Date: 15th March, 2016
World of Warcraft: Chronicle claims to be the definitive tome for the rich lore of the Warcraft universe, all the way from the distant past to the modern area. And, based on this first volume, I’d say that the creators have achieved that lofty goal with ease.
Firstly though, let me make one thing clear; this isn’t a comic. As you can see from the preview pages below, what we have here is a written history of the Warcraft universe, punctuated by some truly stunning artwork courtesy of fan-favourite Peter Lee. However, rather than merely being an encyclopedic collection of dull facts, figures, names and dates, this 164-page volume instead contains well-written pose, packed with detail, expression and emotion.
In terms of scope, let’s just say that this collection opens with a detailed account of the friction between the Light and the Void that birthed the cosmos in the first place. Yes, we’re going back to the very beginning here, folks.
This first volume contains four chapters in all; “Mythos”, “Primordial Azeroth”, “Ancient Kalimdor” and “A New World”, ending on the tale of The Last Guardian, which is essentially the story of Jeff Grubb’s 2002 novel. Along the way, the flowing prose is broken up by pages containing Lee’s gorgeously painted artwork, giving us a truly eye-catching recreation of the distinctive aesthetic, as well as a look at several moments in the early history (and prehistory) of the Warcraft universe that have never been show before.
The writing comes courtesy of Matt Burns, Robert Brooks and Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development Chris Metzen, and features a shocking amount of detail, providing a wider context to the struggles and conflicts that have defined the iconic Warcraft universe over the years.
Now to the negatives, such as they are; firstly, people picking this one up based on their affinity or knowledge of the World of Warcraft online gaming universe may find themselves disappointed by the lack of familiar names. As I mentioned, we’re going all the way back to the birth of the cosmos, so don’t expect to see the Lich King, Thrall or Illidan Stormrage popping up for a good few volumes.
Secondly, I’m fully aware that, as well written as this undoubtedly is, it’s still essentially a reference tome, and as such won’t necessarily be to everyone’s tastes. However, for people with a deeper interest in this almost incomprehensibly well-realised world, as well as those of us who just enjoy us some impressive fantasy world building, this is undoubtedly one of the most impressive volumes I’ve ever laid eyes on.
It would perhaps have been easy for the creators to churn out a flimsy offering designed solely as a cash-in for the upcoming Warcraft movie, but that’s simply not Dark Horse – or Blizzard’s – style. Instead, what we have here is an exhaustive, lovingly created collection that serves as the opening chapter in what is undoubtedly going to be the definitive collection of Warcraft lore. An absolutely essential purchase for fans of the franchise, while still managing to offer enough interesting content for casual readers at the same time.
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