Many people only think of World of Warcraft as the massively popular online role-playing game. However, this past year has seen the release of the first movie in the franchise – Warcraft: The Beginning. Many people fail to release that there are also comic books that feature a fraction of the lore surrounding the popular brand.
This year, 2016, marks the 25th year of Blizzard Entertainment and their many different forms of content. I recently happened upon three particular volumes of comics that I really enjoyed. They gave the background to some of the most famous characters in the Warcraft Universe and this insight made me want to play the game more, simply because I felt I knew more about the characters.
World of Warcraft Vol. 1
The first volume of this comic was published in August of 2008 in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment and Wildstorm comics. It was written by Walter Simonson and featured artwork from Ludo Lullabi, Jim Lee and Sandra Hope.
This first volume begins with a human found unconscious on the shores of Kalimdor, with absolutely no memory of who he is or how he arrived there. He is enslaved by an orc shaman by the name of Rehgar Earthfury and is forced into a sort of fight club situation. He must literally fight for his life against both Alliance and Horde fighters inside ‘the pit’. The human is teamed up with some interesting characters for a tournament where competitors must fight other teams.
Broll Bearmantle is a night elf druid who also must fight for his life in the pit. Broll chose this life as he was grief stricken after the loss of his daughter. He blamed himself for her death and sold himself into slavery. He was a skilled fighter who admired the human warrior after seeing him fight.
The third member of their team was a feisty blood elf assassin by the name of Valeera Sanguinar. Broll felt compelled to protect her, treating her as the daughter he lost. Valeera lost her family when bandits killed them during a raid. She survived on the streets for a time, but was soon sold into slavery after meeting up with Broll.
Lo’Gosh, Broll and Valeera formed a team of gladiators that took part in a tournament called the Crimson Ring. Through many bloody victories, the team emerged victorious and the crowd bestowed the orc name of Lo’Gosh on the human; which translates as Ghost Wolf.
Through flashes of his memory returning, it is revealed that Lo’Gosh is none other than the great King of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn.
World of Warcraft Vol. 2
The second volume picks up the story with Lo’Gosh now knowing who is. It was published in August of 2009 by Wildstorm comics and written by Walter Simonson. The art for this volume is by Jon Buran, Mike Bowden and Jerome K. Moore with cover art by Ludo Lullabi.
In this volume, we follow the saga of the Missing King of Stormwind. Upon learning he is in fact the lost ruler of Stormwind, Lo’Gosh returns to reclaim his throne with his comrades-in-arms Valeera and Broll. But all is not as it seems in the Eastern Kingdoms, especially if one informed dwarf has anything to say about it.
World of Warcraft Vol. 3
Once more, the third volume is written by Walter Simonson and published in June of 2010. The artwork this time around features Mike Bowden and Jerome K. Moore doing all the work.
This time around we find King Varian and his companions attempting to heal the rift between Horde and Alliance by seeking out help from orc leader Thrall. Throughout this volume we encounter many of the characters from the Warcraft Universe. From Jaina Proudmoore, who is the Lady of Theramore Isle, to Cho’gall and even the return of Garona Halforcen.
Garona is the assassin who drove the Horde and Alliance apart by killing Varian’s father. She is back and still under the spell which made her kill King Llane. King Varian must deal with that, and also contend with the evil group Twilight’s Hammer who are under the power of the sinister ‘The Master’.
I loved the World of Warcraft comics that I read, and found a new appreciation for many of the characters of the Warcraft Universe. As much as the video game has such a split between Horde and Alliance, the lore is rife with instances where they work so well together. Then again, there are also many reasons why these two factions will never ever truly peacefully co-exist. Common enemies may bring treaties, but they will not last.
While doing research for this, I also found out that Blizzard Entertainment has more comic books on the way. Dark Horse Comics and Blizzard Entertainment will be collaborating on an Overwatch series of comic books. Look for a 100 page hardcover release in April 2017 that will detail the story of the original Overwatch strike team.
Even if you don’t like to play the games, why not check out these comics and live the lore? There is so much world to discover in the Warcraft Universe.