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Comic Book / The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

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A serial comic for Nintendo Power magazine by the acclaimed manga author Shotaro Ishinomori, and later collected in graphic novel form, this told an alternate version of the events from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Despite the involvement of Japanese talent, it was produced for a North American audience, and is not considered to be a Manga. It was translated into Japanese afterwards. In fact, the Japanese edition is still printed in left-to-right format, has horizontally formatted left-to-right text, and the original English sound effects are left untranslated.

See also The Legend of Zelda manga, which includes other adaptations of A Link to the Past; and The Legend of Zelda comics by Valiant, which were also made specifically for an American audience. For the Mario Bros. comic which ran concurrently with this one, see Super Mario Adventures.



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  • Adaptational Badass: Link's Uncle is more of a badass in this adaptation. Instead of being overrun and killed in the very first room of the dungeon, he is struck down by no less than Agahnim himself.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • The soldiers of Agahnim turn out to be Animated Armor created by the sorcerer, likely because Nintendo Power didn't want a scene of Link decapitating a brainwashed guard.
    • Moldorm goes from a giant worm- or caterpillar-like creature to a Giant Spider with human teeth.
    • Trinexx is depicted as a three-headed Japanese dragon instead of the three-headed turtle from the game.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Link fighting the Trinexx. "This is one schizoid serpent!"
  • Alien Geometries:
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Epheremelda seems to have a crush on Link, and blows her stack whenever he ignores her to look for Zelda.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Sahashrala reveals to Link that he is the son of Hyrulian knights. This puts him in the running to wield the Master Sword, like Roam.
  • Ascended Extra: Sahasrahla, his wife, and the boy who knew his location are given considerably larger roles here than in the actual game.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • When tangling with one of Agahnim's soldiers, Link zips around him and holds him at swordpoint, demanding to be taken to the Princess. His sword accidentally stabs through a convenient hole in the soldier's armor ("What?"), causing him to explode into light and leaves his armor clattering to the floor.
    • Link can't crack the Lanmola's metal hide. But the soft, furry underbelly will do nicely.
  • Bad Moon Rising: The moon sports a skull face in the Dark World. In fact, the only tangible transition to the Dark World (apart from the wall collapsing around Link) is the smoke billowing from Agahnim's corpse to form the skull above.
  • Badass in Distress: Link ends up getting thrashed by a Wizzrobe, requiring Zora to rescue him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Downplayed but still apt, particularly compared to the very happy ending of the game. Link and Zelda defeat Ganon and Link wishes upon the Triforce. However, Roam is dead, Link's uncle is not resurrected, and although the Dark World vanishes and its inhabitants return to Hyrule as humans again, Link must say goodbye to Epheremelda. Additionally, it is made obvious that Link and Zelda have affected for each other, but their responsibilities guarding the Triforce and ruling Hyrule mean they can never be together.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Agahnim cuts down Link's uncle with a swath of lightning from his sword, leaving no wound. Even his tunic is intact.
  • Canon Foreigner: The boy, Roam the archer, and Epheremelda the fairy are original characters created for the comic and do not appear elsewhere in the franchise.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: When Link disregards her suggestion not to go into the oasis, Epheremelda flips her wig and complains that Link never worries about her and that all he ever talks about is Zelda, then indignantly leaves. Moments before being eaten by Vitreous, Link is suddenly rescued by Zora, who explains that Epheremelda summoned him to help.
  • The Chosen One: Link must undertake an arduous quest to find the Master Sword. One problem: The sword itself chooses its wielder, so there was a possibility that even if he survived his journey, the sword still wouldn't let him use it. Luckily, it does.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: With no way to reach Ganon's floating castle, Roam goes a little nuts and surrenders to his eagle form. Back on the ground, Zelda says a prayer to the maidens, who magically float her and Link into the structure.
  • Combat Tentacles: Arrghus is reimagined as a bright red jellyfish with tentacles.
  • Combined Energy Attack: After stunning Ganon with the Master Sword, Link tells Zelda to shoot him with Roam's crossbow, despite not having found the Silver Arrow. The willpower of Link, Zelda, Roam, and the rescued maidens transforms the ordinary arrow into a Silver Arrow, destroying Ganon.
  • Comm Links: The first Maiden hands over the Comfork, a crystal tuning fork. Later, the Comfork begins to ring and Link sees an image of his friends back in Kakariko. At first, Sahasrahla disregards Link's voice as having been his imagination, the others eventually realize that the Comfork allows them to speak with Link even though they are on opposite worlds.
  • Creepy Good: Roam may technically be on the side of the angels, but he is one creepy suspicious mamma-jamma.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Those trapped in the Dark World are cursed to become beasts without artifacts or Heroic Willpower. Roam, however, takes advantage of being able to become an eagle to fly to Ganon's Tower.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Zelda assists Link in the battle with Ganon, firing the Silver Arrow to kill him. When she deals the final blow, she does so by aiming at a glowing wound Link carves across Ganon's chest to paralyze him.
  • The Dark Side: The Dark World feeds on the more unpleasant emotions, threatening to turn Link into a beast a few times. The hotheaded Roam is even more susceptible.
  • Deadly Gaze: Agahnim paralyzes Link by glaring at him, rendering him unable to stop him from transporting Zelda to the Dark World.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Sahasrahla reveals that Link's parents were Knights of Hyrule who stumbled into the Dark World. After they disappeared, Link's uncle shielded him from court intrigue by keeping his lineage a secret.
  • Decoy Damsel: Link stumbles into an oasis from where Zelda is tied up with vines — but she turns out to be a Wizzrobe in disguise, who promptly ties up Link and conjures Vitreous from the swamp to devour him. This is similar to the ploy used by Blind the Thief in the SNES game.
  • Defector from Decadence: Zora, the only monster seen who doesn't try to kill Link on sight, and in fact steps in at one point to save his life.
  • Demonic Possession: Rather than just being Ganon in disguise as in the game, Agahnim is a separate person who was possessed by Ganon.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Zelda telepathically instructs Link to trust his "feelings" to guide him to her prison block.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Zora grants Link the Zora's Mask to disguise himself and not look so conspicuous as he is sneaking around the Dark Palace. This is a nifty precursor to the actual Zora Mask first seen in Ocarina of Time. (Rather than an actual mask, Zora plucks off one of his own scales and slaps it on Link's mug.)
  • Dynamic Entry: Roam enters the scene dispatching two of Trinexx's heads with arrows, just in time to save a hapless Link.
  • Evil Hand: On Death Mountain, Link sees a vision of his dead parents standing with his uncle. Link reaches for his mother's hand when she extends hers out to him, but Link's hand turns into a werewolf claw when it passes the portal's boundary.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: The librarian gets the idea for a hot air balloon from the boy, who draws an analogy to his bubble bath.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: The interior of Ganon's castle has absolutely no light at all, just a featureless black void crawling with the ghosts of defeated foes.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: The last panel shows the Master Sword overgrown by foliage as it sleeps.
  • Exposition Fairy: In the Dark World, Link is accompanied by Epheremelda who offers him the lay of the land. This is before Ocarina of Time introduced Navi as the first canon Fairy sidekick.
  • Expy: Roam is based on 002 from Shotaro Ishinomori's earlier work Cyborg 009, whose pre-cyborg name was Jet Link.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Link defeats the Hinox by hurling one of its own bombs back at it, causing it to get lodged down its mouth. Whoops. After the Hinox explodes, the fairy appears next to an Ash Faced Link.
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: When the Water Palace begins to flood, the Taurus grabs onto a Hinox, gasping that he can't swim. The Taurus's armor ends up dragging them both underwater.
  • Giant Spider: The monster fought in the Tower of Hera is a giant tarantula as opposed to the Moldorm fought in the game. However, when the monster's ghost appears in Ganon's Tower, Link identifies it as Moldorm.
  • Giving the Sword to a Noob: Nobody in Kakariko takes Link very seriously. Even Sahashrala's wife finds it surprising that the pendant was entrusted to him.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Moldorm's eyes give off a white radiance when it assaults Link.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Pendant of Courage gives Link the jolt he needs to cut a stormtrooper in half. This sends the other mooks wailing out of the temple in terror.
  • He Knows Too Much: Following Sahasrala's directions, Link heads for the Library to study the Book of Mudora, only to find it has been set on fire by soldiers. The boy alerts Link that the Librarian is stuck inside.
  • Hermit Guru: Sahasrahla lives in the Eastern Palace rather than just near it, and forks over the Pendant of Courage. In the game, Link must defeat the Armos Knights to claim the Pendant; this is mirrored in the comic by soldier mooks crashing the temple.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Zora's initial observation of Link. "Uggh! You're an ugly little mannn..."
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Roam sniffs at Link's "immaturity", deriding all the crap he's been through, Link throws a tantrum. "I'll show YOU who's weak!"
  • Idiot Hero: Link is portrayed as a complete dope in this story, but he gets the job done.
  • It Was with You All Along: Roam reveals that he is seeking the Silver Arrow spoken of in the Book of Mudora, which prophesied that Ganon can only be defeated by a sacred arrow. Although he reveals to Link that he has yet to find it, Roam continues to search for the Silver Arrow to defeat Ganon with it and prove himself to be the legendary hero. However, when Link and Zelda arrive to Ganon's Tower, Roam returns and admits he has failed to find the Arrow. After Roam dies saving Zelda, the princess snatches up Roam's crossbow and takes aim at Ganon. As it whistles through the air, the power of the Maidens, Zelda, Link, and Roam turns the arrow into the Silver Arrow.
  • Large and in Charge: Upon arrival in the Dark World, Link is confronted by three thieves and their "boss", a Hinox. They make trouble by questioning Link about a fairy they're hunting.
  • The Load: The Boy cheers Link on by pounding the head of one the statues that pour into the fountain. This triggers the Swamp Palace in the Dark World to get flooded, washing away the monsters and Link. "Uh-oh." Subverted in that the flooding water helps him defeat the two enemies he was fighting and get him to a high hole in the wall.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: After Ganon's defeat, Links grows distant, and dedicates his life to guarding the Triforce.

  • Magic Mirror: The mirror from the game, which allows Link to travel between the two worlds, is replaced in Ishinomori's version with the "Com(m)-Fork", a magical tuning fork allowing communication (but not transportation) between the Light and Dark worlds.
  • Mirror Scare: Link and the fairy duo head out to the Swamp Palace but discover that it's completely dried up. Link calls to Sahasrahla for help and asks him to go to the Light World location of the Palace, where Sahasrahla and the boy find a fountain. The boy, excited to see Link in the pool of water, suddenly shouts at Link to look out for the Taurus right behind him.
  • Mistaken for Granite: Link mistakes a Rocklops for a statue. "Don't scare me like that!"
  • Mood Whiplash: The comic has moments of slapstick interspersed with some genuine scares.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • Several, with Sahashrala and the archetypical Old Man being most prominent.
    • In the Dark World, Link discovers a shrine where he can rest before going on. As Link begins to fall asleep, a nearby tree sprouts a face and begins to tell him the story of Ganon and the Triforce. The talking trees play a similar role in the game, while the gist of the tree's story appears in the LTTP's prologue.
  • Mutual Kill: Roam strikes down Agahnim in his returned appearance in the Dark World, but at the cost of his own life. This also causes Ganon to manifest before Link and Zelda.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: In the rubble of the Dark Palace, a knight introduces himself as Roam and challenges Link for the right to wield the Master Sword.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Is there anything the handy Master Sword can't do? In addition to its established powers (deflecting Agahnim's magic and paralyzing Ganon), it can channel Link's rage into energy, causing electric storms.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Link tries whacking at the Lanmola with his sword, but its hide is too hard to cause any damage to it. However, after the Lanmola launches him in the air, he lands on top of the scorpion statue and retrieves the Pendant.
  • No Body Left Behind: This happens regularly with the boss monsters Link fights. Minor foes are either revealed as Animated Armor or blown to smithereens in an explosion.
  • No Name Given: The boy from Kakariko doesn't have a canon name, and is known as "Sahasrala's friend".
  • Not Quite Flight: When Link is about to pack off to the desert, the boy gives him a "bird" that Link can ride on — actually a sort of hang-glider in the shape of wings woven by the Hylian Sages, replacing the Flute Boy's Bird from the video game.
  • OEL Manga: The comic was drawn and written for an English audience and translated into Japanese secondarily, making it an early example from long before the term "OEL Manga" was coined. It differs from most OEL Manga in that it was drawn by a big name manga artist, Shotaro Ishinomori.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Master Sword. Only the hero of legend can pull it out. Guess who that is.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: In his dream, Link falls asleep on Zelda's lap, complaining about his misshapen arm. When Link wakes up, he finds that someone has bandaged his arm, and he is actually standing in front of the Tower of Hera.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Link periodically turns into one in the Dark World.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Link is drawn with bangs covering one of his eyes, even though he has never had this hairstyle in any of the games. It's kind of reminiscent of Cyborg 009's peek-a-bangs.
  • Power Glows: To help expedite things, Link doesn't need the Book of Mudora to translate the glyphs himself. When Link reaches the Desert of Mystery, the book flies out of his hands and hovers over the Hylian script, casting a swath of light from its pages. This automatically unlocks the Pendant of Power.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Link, using the Book of Mudora in the Desert of Mystery, reveals a scorpion statue that has the Pendant of Power hang on it. Before Link can approach it, he sinks into the quicksand — and resurfaces on top of a Lanmola. Eep!
  • Race Against the Clock: In Chapter 5, Link decides to lie down and rest for a bit, only to be woken up by Zelda, who reminds him that he only has until sundown before Agahnim casts his final incantation on her.
  • Ret-Canon: Although not the first Fairy Companion, Epheremelda is the first to have the appearance of a ball of light with wings. Epheremelda only looks like this in distant shots and has a humanoid appearance in closeups. Also, Zelda first used a bow and magic arrows to help defeat Ganon in this manga, before she started doing it in the games with The Wind Waker.
  • Reused Character Design: Like many manga artists from his generation, Ishinomori frequently gave his older characters new roles in later mangas. Cyborg 002 shows up with Hylian ears as a Canon Foreigner Roam.
  • The Rival: Roam is also trying to save Zelda and defeat Ganon, but he's very antagonistic towards Link.
  • Secret-Keeper: A Kakariko villager helps Link hide inside one of his hay bales, having no love for the new regime.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: Epheremelda doesn't buy into the idea that Zelda has suddenly warped from Turtle Rock to the swamplands, and recommends that they go find the map first. Link, blinded by his devotion, forges ahead and mounts of a successful rescue of... a Wizzrobe. Whoops.
  • Sinister Geometry: Ganon's Castle appears to defy the law of gravity.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Roam, a hint to his Super Mode as an eagle.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: A solid Type 3. The story hews close to the plot of the video game, with a few surprises:
    • Agahnim and Ganon are explicitly shown to be different beings, communicating between worlds in one scene. (The Agahnim in Ganon's Castle, however, is just a glamour used by Ganon himself.)
    • Link cannot travel freely between worlds and is trapped in the Dark World once Agahnim transports him there. He maintains his form in the Dark World by controlling his emotions, whereas in the game the Moon Pearl is needed to keep human form.
    • The events of the Dark World are heavily abridged, and Link only saves two maidens before finding Zelda; though Link visits Misery Mire and the Ice Palace, no maidens are imprisoned there.
    • The Wizzrobe impersonating Zelda is an obvious riff on Blind the Thief. Rather than revert to his true form in sunlight, he waits for Link to sidle up before doing a creepy Face-Revealing Turn.
    • The collection of items vital to the game's completion are either changed (the "Bird") or excised entirely, with only the Book of Mudora appearing in the same capacity.
    • Interestingly, the Eastern Temple more resembles the game's Great Pyramid. In exchange, Ganon's lair has been modified into an alien-looking orb.
  • Smoke Out: Agahnim vanishes into blue mist with Zelda in his clutches.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Link and Zelda in the epilogue, where they're kept separated by their duties.
  • Steampunk: The librarian comes up with the idea of building a hot air balloon to carry Link into Hyrule Castle, which uses a ramshackle gadget to produce helium.
  • Taking the Bullet: Inside Ganon's Castle, the party is swarmed by ghosts of Link's past foes, with a specter of Agahnim leering dangerously at Zelda. Roam quickly switches to eagle mode and charges at the illusion, electrocuting himself.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: After trekking from the desert to Death Mountain, and then sticking his hand into a Dark World portal, an exhausted Link begins seeing visions of Sahasrahla and Zelda. Link wonders aloud if these are mirages, but Zelda informs him that, if two people dream the same thing, they will run into each other. Link later wakes up on the ground in front of the Tower of Hera, thinking that "that was a strange dream", but finding that someone has bandaged his wounded arm.
  • Weird Moon: A full moon hovers over Hyrule, counting down the nights until Agahnim's ritual. In the Dark World, the moon sports a skull face.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Ganondorf's appearance differs very much from how he would later appear in Ocarina of Time. His brief appearance in the comic has him resemble a bearded human man rather unlike the green-skinned, beardless figure of the later game.