I bought at Barnes & Noble yesterday Dragon Hunt, the first volume in Tokyopop’s WarCraft: The Sunwell Trilogy manga, written by Richard Knaak, author of three WarCraft novels from Pocket Books, and illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim. This first volume is slim, weighing in at about 150 pages. I read through Dragon Hunt in about twenty minutes.
The description of Dragon Hunt from the B&N website:
In the era after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, the world attempts to recollect itself from the onslaught left in the wake of the Burning Legion.
The world thought it finally would be at peace. However, when an immense power emanates throughout the land all eyes turn in search of its source. Kalecgyos, a member of a decimate race of blue dragons quests towards the elven kingdom of Quel’Thalas in search of answers but he will have to deal with a vengeful dwarf… the army of the Undead Scourge… and the unveil the mystery behind a peasant girl with an enchanting mystery before he can finally obtain what he seeks.
Based on the worldwide online gaming phenomenon, Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy is as epic adventure that spans the realms of the Orcs, Humans, Elves and the Undead.
Dragon Hunt is certainly all that, and while the story held my interest for the twenty minutes it took me to read the manga I can’t help but feel that the story falls a bit on the simplistic end of the stick, which is disappointing coming from Knaak who was so successful with Day of the Dragon, the first of the WarCraft novels, in providing a twisty, multi-layered mystery that kept the reader engaged through the book’s near four hundred pages. In terms of story, Dragon Hunt provides no pay-off–that will come, no doubt, in the final volume of the trilogy. In terms of characterization, our main characters–Kalec the Blue-Dragon and Anveena the maiden–aren’t well drawn and have little discernable personality beyond the cardboard. As far as Kim’s artwork is concerned, Dragon Hunt doesn’t strike me as having a manga feel and instead reminds me of Prince Valiant which, given the subject matter of a fantasy-drawn world, seems entirely appropriate.
What Dragon Hunt feels like is 150 pages of set-up for the next three hundred–to introduce the characters, provide some challenges, and throw the characters together to set them on their way. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it means that Dragon Hunt isn’t a complete read in and of itself–if you start this you’ll need to read the next two volumes to make any semblence out what you read here.