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review 2018-05-29 17:27
All the Lore You Need
World of Warcraft Chronicle Volume 3 - BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

The third volume of the World of Warcraft Chronicle covers events from the Third War up to the Cataclysm. Lots of details here about Illidan, the Lich King, Thrall and others. It clears up some questions I had but had never bothered to look up, such as how so many Blood Elves ended up in Outland.

 

Because the book is now covering events that took place in-game, the authors have to take major historical events that were preformed by players of both factions many many times in the game and present them as singular events performed by only one group. As a result some raids are attributed to the Horde and some to the Alliance, even though players of both factions do them regularly. I have to wonder if the authors flipped coins to pick between Alliance and Horde, or if they tried to find legitimate lore reasons for choosing one over the other.

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text 2017-07-26 16:10
Comic Round Up
World of Warcraft: Legion #1 - Matt Burns,Ludo Lullabi
Ms. Marvel, #1 - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona
Murena - tome 1 - La Pourpre et l'or (French Edition) - Dufaux,Delaby
Tellos #1 - Todd DeZago,Mike Wieringo,Nathan Massengill,Rich Case,Paul Mounts,Ken Wolak
Age of Reptiles Omnibus, Vol. 1 - Ricardo Delgado,Genndy Tartakovsky
FCBD 2015: Tales of Honor - Matt Hawkins,Linda Sejic

In my last comic round up, I started with a series of comics based on a video game, so I figure I will do the same here.  The four issue World of Warcraft Legion series is apparently a set up for the video game (or part of the video game).  The series isn’t as good as Overwatch, in part because it relies a bit more on reader familiarity, but it isn’t bad.  Part of the series focuses on the relationship between fathers and daughters, in one case, a father upset that his daughter isn’t a son.  Each issue is more of a character study with some action.  The first and last issues being the best.

 

                To be fair to World of Warcraft, the female characters are actually drawn in ways that make sense and not as objectified as many other comic books would have done them.  Take for instance, Tellos, which has had all good markings of a good fantasy story – exciting chases, a tiger man, magic, a female pirate with intelligence – until you realize that said female pirate with the triple DDD bust size constantly spans her own waist with one of her hands.  Every Time She Puts Said Hand On Her Hip.

 

                I’m done.

 

                There are exceptions to this trend.  Marvel’s Ms. Marvel being an example.  She is nicely geeky, she tries to be a good daughter, she is nice and insecure.  She’s a Muslim.  In other words, she is everything Donald Trump would hate.  The fact that she is a normal teen and minority is a huge step forward.  She isn’t perfect.  It’s good that Marvel is finally doing something like this.  I wish they would go back and rescue some of their less known woman heroes as well.  I really want Firestar done well. 

 

                Ms. Marvel, however, does give me hope.  Not only in terms of the future of comics, but also that hype can be correct.

 

                And she is drawn realistically, and the issue passes the Bechdel test.

 

                Tiny Titans doesn’t, at least not entirely.  There is jokes about who has a crush on Robin, and while this might be a reference to Nightwing’s butt, it is rather annoying.   Still, the comic is a little cute, though the DC Super Hero Girls was better.

 

                Tales of Honor (#1 and FCBD issue) is a series based on the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber.  #1 is basically a start of Honor’s story, starting around book 6 or 7.  The FCBD issue is a standalone story.  Both have the info dumps that do tend to populate Weber’s books.  Interesting, Nimitz, Honor’s treecat is drawn differently in each, at one point so large that he would not be a shoulder perching cat, which is what he is supposed to be.  Issue #1 sexualizes Honor a bit, though not as much as some comics would have.  I have to give the edge to FCBD issue, though, the story was complete and straight forward.  It showed Honor at her best.  However, if you like Honor, you might want to check out this series.

 

                Murena is a graphic novel series that in some ways is the sequel to Claudius the God.  The story focuses on Nero and the bastard son of Claudius, Murena, who are friend despite being, whether they know it or no, on opposite sides.  The art work is fine, the history good, and the storytelling well done.  If you want a I Claudius again, this is the one for you.  What is interesting is the use of Nero, in particular making him an almost sympathetic character.  The first volume seems to be an indication that part of what the series is going to look is the corruptive nature of power. 

 

                A few years ago, I was in DC and saw the Diaghilev and Ballet Russe exhibit at the National Gallery.  It included footage from a performance of Rite of Spring.  Now, I am of the generation who knows that music thanks to Disney’s Fantasia, which means I hear it and think dinosaurs. 

 

                There were no dinosaurs.

 

                Thankfully, there is Age of Reptiles, which is about dinosaurs.  In fact, it is nothing but dinosaurs.  There is no dialogue, just dinosaurs being dinosaurs.  It is absolutely cool and enthralling.  Be warned, there is blood so if you are a parent, you might want to check it out before kiddo reads it.

 

                Closing note- American McGee’s Grimm #1 is a hilarious take down of the super hero comic book.

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review 2017-07-16 04:00
Suddenly Everything's Ruined
World of Warcraft Chronicle Volume 2 - BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

Chronicle Vol. 2 starts with the origins of life on Draenor and continues through the Second War and the Alliance Expedition. Like anything to do with Draenor, the most interesting parts are about the arakkoa and the least interesting are the orcs, so of course the book is mostly about the orcs. The orcs are divided into dozens of clans with names like the Rotten Teeth and the Mad Dogs. They revere nature and violence, although not in that order. They are forced to invade Azeroth after utterly ruining their native world.

 

This last detail reflects a disturbing pattern in World of Warcraft. In chapter after chapter, every noble and beautiful thing eventually gets corrupted, everything gets ruined. We see this with individuals, races, factions, nations, even entire planets. It makes me wonder what the game designers ultimate endgame plan for WOW is. Is it just a series of small victories against a backdrop of inevitable failure?

 

I do not need a fantasy game to remind me that we live in a world where the forces of greed, ignorance, and cruelty are growing stronger every day. It is easy to be cynical and say the entropic plot of WOW is realistic. I choose to believe that society as a whole is capable of progressing as long as compassion and knowledge are valued above immediate self interest. It is a hard sell, but worth it in the long term.

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review 2016-12-30 01:36
All the Lore You Could Ask For
World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 - Blizzard Entertainment,Blizzard Entertainment Thousands of articles and blogs have been written theorizing about the complicated backstory of World of Warcraft. Over the years information has trickled out through quest texts, cut scenes, and tie-in novels and comics. Every player who cares about this aspect of the game has their favorite theories about the Titans or the Burning Legion or the Well of Eternity, and how all the pieces fit together. Now Blizzard has put much of the speculation to rest by publishing an official account of Warcraft lore. It is surprising that Blizzard would decide to make a book like this because it ties their hands to a certain extent. They clearly plan to release many more expansions, but if they want to introduce another unexplored continent to Azeroth or new races they will have to explain why information about those places and peoples were omitted from the Warcraft Chronicle. Personally, I find the cosmology and history of Azeroth as much or more interesting than the actual game play. It kills me whenever my character enters one of the beautifully rendered libraries in the game and none of the books are clickable. Nothing to do but go kill a dozen bears and bring their pelts back to the local quest giver to build my rep. If you love the lore then you will enjoy this book. I should mention that there is nothing in the book that will help you play the game. If you want to improve your DPS or down a raid boss you can find those tips on YouTube.
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text 2016-09-03 22:20
Ramblings Regarding August Reading
An Old-Fashioned Unicorn's Guide to Cour... An Old-Fashioned Unicorn's Guide to Courtship - Sarah Rees Brennan
World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal - Aaron Rosenberg,Christie Golden

Favorite book of the month: An Old-Fashioned Unicorn's Guide to Courtship by Sarah Rees Brennan, who is basically like magic for me all the time.

Longest in pagesWorld of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden, at 436 pages

 

Total books read: 14

Total pages read: 1,851

Re-reads: 1

Average pages per book: 132

Average pages per day: 59

  

Scores:

1: 0

2: 0

3: 13

4: 1

5: 0

Did not finish: 0

 

Average: 3.07

 

 

So this month was clearly "dark fantasy short story" month for some reason. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I could read those in short burst on WoW loading screens. The fact that the longest book I read all month was World of Warcraft related is also connected to this, I'm quite sure. 

 

At any rate, it was a slow month. I will cheerfully read any short story Rosamund Hodge writes, though, and I enjoyed the crop of them I sucked down this month. Well-done short stories are a weakness of mine, and it's nice to find someone who manages them so consistently without them reading too similarly. 

 

September, though, is gearing up into a very solid reading month--the Halloween Bingo is going to be loads of fun, and I can't wait to scare myself senseless and watch everyone else doing so as well! 

 

How did everyone's August reading go? Anyone else super ready for weather where curling up with a good book in front of a fireplace will be valid? Who else is doing the Halloween Bingo? 

 

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