Review : Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy.

Set in the world of the popular computer game series, Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy is a high fantasy story of fire breathing dragons, rotting undead and one mysterious young woman at the center of it all. Written by well known fantasy novelist Richard Knaak, who also helped with the english adaption of the Ragnarok manga series. The Sunwell Trilogy actually contains the three seperate graphic novels; Dragon Hunt, Shadows Of Ice and Ghostlands, is unscaled to a larger page size and given a well designed hard cover.

The story revolves around Anveena, a young seemingly innocent country girl and Kalec, a blue dragon who has taken human form and cannot leave it due to unforeseen circumstances. Kalec is searching for the sunwell, a lake of potent magic that has seemingly disappeared. After Aveena's home is attacked, she gets caught up in Kalecs search for the sunwell as well. Unfortunately, the undead scourge are also looking for it and hamper the pair at every turn.

For those familiar with the franchise, the story takes place after the events of Warcraft III and leads up to the final events of World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. For those unfamiliar with Warcraft or just wanting to brush up on their lore, The Sunwell Trilogy contains a very dense explanation of Warcraft history at the start. If you've never played any of Warcrafts incarnations I would not suggest this manga, it seems to have primarily been made for Warcraft fans, a lot of events and character appearances will have a lot less impact to those unfamiliar with the franchise.

The art is more reminiscent of older manga titles, but is still very much in the anime style, the female blood elf Tyri is inarguable proof of it, especially when she gets attacked by tenticles at one part in the book. Despite being called 'War'craft there isn't actually a lot of overly violent scenes within the book, or adult/sexual themes for that matter, making the novel accessible for all age groups.

The Sunwell Trilogy has a fine narrative, which is easy to follow for anyone but will appeal more to Warcraft fans. The conclusive plot twist is pretty shallow and obvious, but besides that it remains overall a strong graphic novel that will entice all high fantasy story lovers.

Review : Zombie Powder.

Raising the dead or attaining eternal life may be simpler than you would think. All it requires is a little zombie powder, which can be acquired from the twelve rings of the dead. Unfortunately, everyone else also knows this and these abilities are not exactly unwanted by the masses. Enter Tite Kubo's first graphic novel series, Zombie Powder. Set in a modern-western world where everyone and everything is after the twelve rings of the dead. Zombie Powder is packed full of gun and sword fights, set in a unique local where saloons sit alongside buses and has cast of very unusual characters.

Gamma, a tall, long haired man is after the rings to make himself immortal. Besides being a wanted criminal, Gamma isn't exactly your run of the mill main character. For one, he wields a huge motorized chainsaw sword. Secondly, you may think, surely a gun is more effective than a sword? Well Gamma seems to have figured out a way around this, having nailed metal onto his own skin, he is able to stop bullets by merely blocking or catching them with his hand. He's a pretty light hearted character most of the time and gets himself into a lot of comedic situations, but when forced into a confrontation, Gamma turns into a dark, bloodthirsty killing machine. Elwood and C.T. Smith are the other primary characters of Zombie Powder. Elwood is a 13 year old boy, raised as a pick pocket, knife thrower and all round thief. He tags along with Gamma after his sister is murdered and is after the powder to bring her back to life. C.T. Smith is Gamma's partner, a clean-cut, square-rim glasses wearing business man, complete with tie and suit and armed with sleeve launching pistols. Smith is a mysterious character, but remains likable none the less.

The story primarily involves Gamma and company searching for the rings. Which mainly entails battling other hardened criminals and taking their rings. The first unlucky group are the Ash Daughter Bandits and their leader, Ranewater Calder, a crazy drug addicted boy who wields a sword with rockets attached. Gamma, never one to back down, steps up to the fight with his chainsaw sword buzzing.

The art is pretty typical of anime style. Tite Kubo seems to have a thing for western clothing, Gamma is dressed in a trench coat with fur lining, Elwood wears shirts with a big star on them and Smith is made to look like an English banker. Not that there is any real issue with this, as it is based in a pseudo-western world, it's also a nice change from everyone running around in kimonos with katanas. The manga contains a lot of violence, people are decapitated, cut in half, shot, tourtured and there is no sign of the usual attempt to get around it by making the bad guys inhuman or monsters which is quite unusual but praisable for a Shonen Jump manga.

From Zombie Powder it's quite easy to tell how Tite Kubo has gone on to create other popular series, the manga has an original story and is packed with action. The characters are unique and non-redundant. The action and movement is communicated brilliantly by the art. It's one of those manga you will pick up and put down before realising you read it all in one go.