A few years there was this out-and-out space opera science fiction show called Firefly. It didn’t last long, only like half a season or something, but in the years since its untimely and abrupt cancellation, it has become one of the great cult classic television shows. Fan reaction to the show was so severe that Joss Whedon eventually came back to do a movie, Serenity, to tie off some of the loose ends that were left open. I saw all of it in my college years, and I remember that it was a really good show and movie. I certainly enjoyed both. So when Dark Horse announced last year that they were going to continue the story in a comics series, I was very ecstatic.
Written by Joss Whedon’s brother Zack Whedon, and drawn by Georges Jeanty, this issue is everything I could ask for, story-wise. It carries on from where Serenity left off and it lays some really good groundwork for what happened afterwards, since in the timeline, eight months have now passed since the truth about the Reavers was exposed in the movie. Art-wise though, I have my reservations, because most of the characters look nothing like how they are on the show/movie. I mean, I realize that there would be differences, but the differences here are on the order where I can’t even recognize them!
“A statue?” Turalyon laughed. “What could either of us possibly do to earn statues?”
– Tides of Darkness, a Warcraft novel by Aaron Rosenberg
Warning: some spoilers below.
Given my immense backlog of books and e-books, I thought I’d finally start clearing it up one by one. Choosing which novel to read was not a particularly difficult decision though. As a long time player of Blizzard games, ever since the days of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Diablo and StarCraft, I have been enamoured of the worlds the company has created. And having read some previous novels such as The Last Guardian and Rise of The Horde, I was rather keen to delve into this novel, which is their chronological sequel.
I played Warcraft: Tides of Darkness ages ago and going through the novel, I realized that this is very much a rough novelization of the events there-in. Video game novelizations generally tend not to be as good as the original material. Some aspect of the writer’s approach usually brings these novels down, which is a real shame. Character development, mission flows, dialogue, something always takes a hit when a video game is transformed into a novel.
Unfortunately, that trend has continued in Tides of Darkness. Yes, I last played the game more than a decade ago and the novel is not an exact novelization but there are clearly strong links between the two.
So where does the novel go wrong?