The Novel Post: Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood Review

lh_bonds_of_brotherhood_review_the_novel_postThis review of the Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood novel by Paul Cornell is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Oh, so you are interested in the tie-ins to the Warcraft film. Welcome. Warcraft: Bond of Brotherhood tossed readers some two decades into the past of the film. As the name suggest, the graphic novel is entirely focused on a core group of characters. A group that takes a large role in the film, and other early Warcraft lore. The juvenile trio of Llane Wrynn, Anduin Lothar and Medivh are thrown into battle with only Captain Lothar having had his mettle tested to date. Medivh has seen his arcane abilities come to a head in Dalaran, moving from the mage-filled city to the Tower of Karazhan to take over the role of Guardian of Tirisfal. Prince Wrynn lives that life, a well-trained, never-tested son of a fighting king.

It’s this shame that causes Llane to rush headlong into a confrontation with nearby raiding trolls. Llane goades Anduin and Medivh on a scouting mission due to his impetuous and impulsive nature. Dieing to prove himself in battle, the trio narrowly escape death. The savage, seemingly far-less-intellectual-than-normal trolls are dispatched with relative ease thanks to the blossoming Medivh and well-trained Captain Lothar. The trio leave unscathed, but the bloody path incites the slain troll warlord’s son to seek vengeance and introduces Medivh to a magic he, and upon further review in Karazhan, few Guardians, have seen; fel energy.

The rest of the story from Paul Cornell follows a similar formula. The trio fall into trouble, one of them screws up, but not enough to become ruinous. They lick their wounds and learn from their mistakes until the next round of trouble. In between, each partakes on their own particular life journey, Medivh to his studies, Lothar to his family and Llane to finding a princess. Mat Broome illustrates the scenes with few details opting to focus the reader on the panel’s point of interest. The combination of a jumping story, locations, similarly-drawn humanoids or time, may cause some confusion or conflation of characters during the read.

Bonds of Brotherhood does its job introducing readers to important characters in the film. But it doesn’t make them very interesting nor is the story particularly engaging. The characters repeat the cycle Cornell set to introduce the trio. The bromance ensues even as the world around them is beset by trolls seeking nothing more than revenge. Trolls that were turned from beings modeled after Maya and Aztec beliefs to nothing more than brutish savages. The tale does little to add to the known backstory of Lothar and Medivh and even less for the boy who would see his world turned upside down nearly two decades later.

I won’t even get into the retconning/lore inconsistencies as the plot was barely there to begin with.

Interested in exploring World of Warcraft’s recent lore further?

Paul Cornell is best known for his work on the Doctor Who television series having penned numerous comics in that universe. DC, Marvel and various independent labels have leveraged his talents too. Artist Mat Broome has lent his talents to Marvel and Image comics to name a few. Bonds of Brotherhood marks their first foray into the Blizzard universe of universes. The last Warcraft comic was Dark Riders way back in 2013.

I guess this means it’s time to actually go see the Warcraft film, now that the graphic novel Bonds of Brotherhood and Warcraft: Durotan have been consumed and reviewed. I can’t possibly imagine I’ll be reading the novelization of the movie, but you never know.

Check out all of the novelizations of Blizzard products in the our Extensive Extended Universe rundown.