All you need to know is the griffin is named Bernard

Publisher: Image
Imprint: Skybound

Writer – Justin Jordan
Artist – Luca Claretti
Colourist – Giovanna Niro
Letterer – Deron Bennett

Summoner’s War: Legacy #1 is a comic based on the mobile MMO game Summoner’s War.

I know absolutely nothing about Summoner’s War and I refused to read Wikipedia before reading and reviewing this comic because I wanted my reaction to be that of a pure unsullied comics reader. I now regret that choice. 

See, here’s the thing, this comic works best when it is not so obviously an MMO, and yet being based on an MMO is so central to it’s core that whilst I am reading about characters on the page all I am doing in my head is picturing a whole bunch of players puppeteering these characters. Sometimes they read like people who usually play on mobile suddenly being in the same room doing an RPG in person. It’s weird. 

I actually liked the opening where it was like a new character doing their first summoning, although, yes it read like gameplay – Use the scroll! Summon the thing! Oh dear it has gone wrong! Now you must negate the actions of the thing! Oh dear that has not worked!
It’s clearly based on gameplay but sort of worked as a comic. 

Then we hit exposition land where there are some armies, a race to find an artefact, and suddenly I am thrown out of a comic and into someone explaining their latest MMO campaign, admittedly with fun and adorable characters. 

The characters when they aren’t acting as avatars for MMO players in disguise are a lot of fun. They are classic types because, well, they’re MMO characters, but they are still interesting enough to hold my attention. This is helped by the art which gives them facial expressions and character. The style might not be to everyone’s taste but still it’s bright and colourful with some really good use of solid colour.

I have no idea if the art is representative of the game, as I still have not googled. I assume it’s better because I’ve never played mobile games because the idea of playing something on a tiny screen has never appealed. Which considering I used to play on a Gameboy is rather ironic. 

My favourite character is Tatakana because small furry cat-like creature with a sort of mech suit ting who takes everything somewhat literally is the least obvious ‘hey I am playing an MMO character’. At least it feels like Tatakana might be being played by a small child who has borrowed their older sibling’s RPG basics book. 

It’s a trend these days to have books based on RPGS, MMOs or other acronyms. In the last month there’s been a Magic The Gathering comic based on the story and lore of the card game and another taking inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons. Is there room for another comic at this time based on a popular mobile MMO? 

To be honest I am not sure we need this book. Is it a bad book? No. I enjoyed it when I could disengage my brain from the fact that the dialogue read like overhearing an RPG at times, which I could do perhaps more often than I have probably indicated in this review.
The art is good to look at. There’s some nice interesting panel work. There’s some real nice creature work – Bernard the griffin is my second favourite character. Mostly because he’s a griffin named Bernard. The characters are solid enough. 

Yet I cannot get away from the fact this reads like an MMO comic mashup.

I would be interested to know what a player of Summoner’s War or frankly someone who has researched it on the internet makes of this. Coming in cold I had hoped the book would be able to meld the two things of MMO and comic book storytelling but for me it hasn’t quite hit that yet. It was so near at times though. 

I like this book. I do not yet love it. Apart from Tatakana and Bernard. 

I will likely summon up the energy to read another issue but unfortunately all I can say for this is – it’s okay, and Bernard is a great name for a griffin.

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