Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood is the official prequel graphic novel to Duncan Jones' fantasy epic, Warcraft. Based on the video game of the same name, this is Blizzard Entertainment’s attempt at further exploring Duncan Jones’ vision.
Featuring art by six different contributors, Bonds of Brotherhood is written by both Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) and Chris Metzen (Transformers: Autocracy). The graphic novel follows three main characters from the film - Llane, Lothar and Medivh - decades before the initial orc invasion.
These legends of the Alliance embark on a quest that involves deadly trolls who have been running rampant across villages in Azeroth. Their brief adventure results in a death that has heavy implications for the King and his people, with vengeance being the key theme of the story.
Unfortunately, Paul Cornell's script is serviceable, at best. The backstory featured in Bonds of Brotherhood fits nicely for the film, but the exploration of these characters is marred by some lazy writing and exposition. Regardless of what transpires throughout the comic, there’s no emotional weight or excitement whatsoever.
Towards the end of the book, Bonds of Brotherhood mentions that trolls were cut from the original film, so including them into the prequel comic sounded great on paper. However, they have just a smidgen of characterisation here, which is awful in comparison to Warcraft’s depiction of its orcs.
Considering the books small length of just over a hundred pages, it's bizarre that Blizzard happily opted for six different artists. A book so small shouldn't have that many unless it's a compilation of different stories. Despite having so many artists, the general style remains the same and major characters are completely interchangeable in their design.
While these artists have at least attempted to capture the look and feel of the universe, Bonds of Brotherhood fails to deliver the same visual quality that the franchise is renowned for. It almost feels like a pure product of the ‘90s, with the line-work and bland colouring. Medivh’s magic looked immense in the film but here it just looks dull and lifeless.
If fans of the film are looking for more backstory on Duncan Jones’ film, then they’ll be better suited with the prequel novel; Durotan. Bonds of Brotherhood feels more like a blatant cash grab if anything, which is clearly overpriced for its short length. There’s just no genuine surprise or entertainment found here, which is unfortunate considering how Warcraft has been received from most of its fans.
WARCRAFT: BONDS OF BROTHERHOOD / WRITER: PAUL CORNELL, CHRIS METZEN / ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: LEGENDARY COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW