With A Memory of Light, the final installment in Robert Jordan's long running Wheel of Time series, being released this month, I thought I'd take a look at the comics adaptations by TOR and Dynamite. Several graphic novel collections are currently available, encompassing the events detailed in the novella New Spring and the first half of the first book in the series, The Eye of the World.
Originally appearing as a novella in the Robert Silverberg anthology Legends, New Spring was later adapted as a prequel novel and published in hardcover by TOR, and then was adapted into a comic book series collected in a graphic novel from TOR and Dynamite in 2011. Set 20 years before The Eye of the World, the story centers on Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sanche, Accepted of the Aes Sedai, who witnesses a prophecy that the Dragon has been reborn on the slopes of the Dragonmount. We see a glimpse of life within Tar Valon as Moiraine and Siuan ready themselves to be tested and, eventually, raised to become Aes Sedai. From there, the adventure begins when Moiraine sets out to search for the Dragon Reborn, and comes to the borderlands where a meeting with Lan Mandragoran forever changes her life. Adapted by Chuck Dixon with art from Mike S. Miller, New Spring is a gorgeous book that includes the original covers from the comics, notes from Jordan himself, an illustrated glossary and biographies of the contributors to the comic series.The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
Adapted by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Chase Conley, The Eye of the World Vol 1 begins in The Two Rivers, and introduces Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al'Vere, Nynaeve al'Meara, and Gleeman Thom Merrilin, as a mysterious attack rocks the quiet little hamlet. They learn from an Aes Sedai, Moiraine Damodred and her Warder, Lan Mandragoran, that the attacks might be focused on one of the boys. Rather than sit idle and wait for another attack to happen, Moiraine convinces the youths to flee under her protection. On the run with Trollocs and Draghkar on their trail, the Emond's Fielders have to learn, quickly, how to survive in the wilds. This volume takes the story from the events at Emond's Field to the road to Baerlon.
The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume 2
In Volume 2, Chuck Dixon and illustrator Andie Tong, pick up the story as The Two Rivers’ kids find their way to Baerlon where they meet Min Farshaw, who has the ability to see futures for people when she looks at them, and have their first encounter with the Children of the Light, pseudo-Templars and enemies of the Aes Sedai, who they view as witches and dark friends. While in Baerlon, Rand, Perrin and Mat begin to have strange nightmares where a man who calls himself Ba'alzamon taunts and tortures them. Rand feels Egwene slipping away from him, as she grows closer to Moiraine and intends to travel to Tar Valon to become an Aes Sedai. They think they are safe in Baerlon, but Lan disagrees and soon they learn the pursuit has not ended.The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume 3
Volume 3 is due out on January 29 and is written by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Marcio Fiorito and Francis Nuguit. The group flees Baerlon and is forced to take refuge in the dead city of Shadar Logoth where Perrin, Mat and Rand decide to explore. Here, they meet a man named Mordeth and encounter Mashadar, an evil magic that haunts the city in the form of a moving, thinking fog. Even Myrddraal and Trollocs fear Shadar Logoth, but they enter the city, forcing the group to run again. While trying to escape, the group is split up with Mat, Rand and Thom together, Egwene and Perrin on the run from Whitecloaks, and Moiraine, Lan and Nynaeve forced to choose which group to find first.
If you've ever thought about starting the series, but saw diving into the books as a daunting task, I highly recommend the graphic novels. They present the material in bite-sized chunks with breathtaking art and give you a real sense of the world Jordan created and the sense of adventure inherent in the books.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and Hugo-nominated Podcast producer/host who lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast is nominated for a 2012 Hugo Award. He writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.