Written by: Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Art: Fernando Heinz Furukawa
Colour by: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering by: Nate Piekos
Cover by: Sachin Teng
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Dragon Age: Knight Errant returns in July for the third instalment in the five-part series.
When we’d last left our heroes, elven squire Vaea was leading her knight, Ser Aaron Hawthorne, towards the city of Starkhaven. Unbeknownst to the famed soldier, the Inquisition has hired his thieving squire for a rescue mission, a mission that means breaking into the prince’s dungeon itself. Here’s what Dark Horse Comics have to add on their website:
With Varric’s help, Vaea sets out on a rescue mission for the Inquisition. After dodging societal niceties with the stuffy prince Sebastian and the even stuffier Seneschal Granger, Vaea catches up to her quarry . . . only to discover the mission will be far from that simple!
It seems the writing team of Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (New X-Men, Amazing Agent Luna) not only want to bring something new to the Dragon Age universe, but also to each of their five-finger issues themselves. While the first part of the tale drew the world of the RPG, and the second issue coloured in some of the background, issue #3 is certainly the pages where the characters truly come to life. It’s an issue where worldbuilding, flashy panels, etc. take a backseat, and instead characterisation, dialogue and plot drive the series forward. This starts on the very first page where Vaea tries to defend Ser Aaron’s past, but is still knocking around twenty or so later when the knight himself argues with Professor Marquette over his honour.
Issue #3 rolls out the red carpet to introduce a handful of well-crafted characters. Not only do we meet the aforementioned Professor Marquette and his obsession with artefacts of other cultures, but also the honey-sweet Prince Sebastian and his pompous seneschal, Granger. In fact, there are so many new faces spread across the score of pages in Issue #3, that it would be no surprise if the main entourage of Vaea, Ser Arron and Varric suffered. On the contrary, this instalment focuses the lens more on our heroes than its predecessors ever did, so that the Game of Thrones-esque court conspiracy and Ocean’s Eleven style break-in are only a playground for our trio in Starkhaven.
Artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa and Colourist Michael Atiyeh, not to be outdone by their writer colleagues, also manage to “say less, do more” with their pens in issue #3. Furukawa still gives us his knife-edge sharp characters and jaw-drop establishing shots, but here the artist also makes clever use of space for the comic’s dialogue. Issue #3 has a lot to say, but fortunately Furukawa is up to the task, capturing exchanges from every angle so that the pace never falters. Of course, even an artist must indulge their fancy once in a while, and it’s during Vaea’s rescue mission that Furukawa and Atiyeh really bring the big guns to bare. The close alleys of Starkhaven and dungeons of the prince are captured with almost eerie perfection, and as the panels squeeze narrower and narrower, the only thing that heightens the tension even more is how Atiyeh allows the shadows interrupt his palette.
But with Ser Aaron accused of stealing, and the alarm raised that the dungeons have been breached, will issue #4 bring us even more excitement than we bargained for?
Kyle is a pharmacy graduate who spends most of his free time playing with words. A fan of sci-fi and fantasy, he runs a blog over on yourelisteningnow.com and is currently working on his first novel, Mist Rock (italics). In the past he wrote with the award-winning UCC Motley magazine and was nominated for the 2016 Colour Writer of the Year at the SMedia awards.