This review of World of Warcraft: Shaman is of the spoiler-free variety.
The class-based World of Warcraft manga from Tokyopop has not resonated well with me to date. The story for Death Knight was a prequel/re-telling of Thassarian’s lore that had already been recanted in-game months beforehand. Mage told a story of a person we’d never heard of — in a setting untouched by the gameworld — and finished with a resolution that would be lucky to warrant future cameos. To be fair, our guest reviewer saw it differently. As Thassarian showed, class-based manga can have a cohesive and intriguing story as long as it focuses on a semi-known character and the role of the class in one’s life. Paul Benjamin, the writer for Shaman, picked up on the strengths of Death Knight and eradicated its weaknesses.
Shaman starts off, oddly enough, with a flashback to the War of the Three Hammers. Benjamin uses the epic war between the dwarven tribes to illustrate how abuse of the elements can have disastrous effects on Azeroth. Thaurissan of the Dark Iron Dwarves (not to be confused with Thassarian from Death Knight) and his accidental executioner, Ragnaros, cause a bit of a stir. This leads immediately to the introduction of Shotoa, an Earthen Ring member that believes the turmoil of the elements to be the cause of numerous natural disasters. His feelings go deeper, against the training of shamans. His talks with the elements cause him to act boldly, to demand that the elements answer his calls, rather than asking for help. His audacity is met by a plummet deep inside the earth as he attempts to save his apprentice. Continue Reading