X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
I do not know enough about the World of Warcraft game to know if this is the target audience, but after reading the first two issues of the World of Warcraft comic book, it appears as though the target audience for this comic, at least, is kids and/or dumb people.
I really feel for writer Walt Simonson on this book. We all know how good of a storyteller Simonson is, and I bet he could craft a decent comic story in his sleep, but that, ultimately, is all these two issues of World of Warcraft are at best – a decent comic story. Simonson is undone by an all too familiar plot, cliched characters and more expositionary dialogue than you could shake a stick at (why you would want to shake a stick at expositionary dialogue is beyond me, but if you were so inclined, you would be unable to, as there is too much expositionary dialogue), but not just expositionary dialogue, but expositionary dialogue that read like the intended audience could not pick up on simple ideas. This is, of course, somewhat of an exaggeration, but often, the dialogue sounded to me like, “Tomorrow, we will travel to the red house, which is painted red.” “True, and the other group is also traveling to the red house, which, as you might not have already pointed out, is the color red, which is why it is called the red house, because it is painted red – on the outside of the house, making people see it and say, ‘Hey, that house is red.'”
The gist of the plot is that a human suffering from amnesia finds himself working as part of a three-person gladiator crew, and while none of them know each other very well (and the other 2/3rds of the group, in fact, pretty much hate each other), they have to bond together if they are going to survive against other gladiators. The human, meanwhile, is hiding a secret, as well as some awesome fighting skills.
The dialogue comes in in how Simonson delivers the plot to the reader – a lot of tertiary characters reciting lines like, “Yeah, they’re good, but they’ll never defeat _____ (then proceeds to detail ____’s background” and “They might have beaten _____, but they’ll never defeat _____ (again, with the new person’s background).”
The owner of the gladiator crew is guilty of it himself. The story is really quite simple, and yet Simonson still seems to think he needs to explain it repeatedly, which may be accurate if he is writing for dumb people and/or kids, but it sure doesn’t help the story much.
Meanwhile, with such a straightforward story, you’d like to see some extra little flourishes, and there is not much to be had in the comic. Simonson does a fine job developing standard enough relationships between the various characters, but it’s practically “write-by-numbers” character development. “Character A will dislike Character B, until such times as Character B saves Character A’s life, and then they are buddies.”
Again, for kids, this might be fresh material, so that’s something, at least.
Artist Ludo Lullabi uses a style very reminiscent of Joe Madureira (and Sandra Hope does a nice job inking the book in that style), and it is pretty effective for this book, which really is a lot like Battle Chasers, only with a stronger story (a statement that really says more about Battle Chaser’s story than it does World of Warcraft’s).
So if you really just get a kick out of seeing stuff from the World of Warcraft games, and you like a really simple, straightforward gladiator story, then you might enjoy this comic, but I think it spends too much time appealing to the slower readers, and such attempts at placating those readers probably led to the comic being low on the whole “intriguing conflicts” and “fascinating character” side, so all in all, I have to say…
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