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
Today brings us the penultimate instalment of “Dragon Age: Knight Errant”, the brainchild of BioWare and Dark Horse Comics. This issue picks up immediately where its predecessor left off, with the titular knight Ser Aaron defending his honour as his own squire skulks about Prince Sebastian’s palace in search of her prize. Here’s what Dark Horse had to say on their website:
As Vaea sets out on the second leg of her mission, Granger and Marquette accuse her of being the culprit behind the rash of thefts in Thedas. Ser Aaron, ignorant of Vaea’s supplemental income, angrily comes to her defense–and she will have to move quickly if she wants to prevent him from discovering the truth.
What’s immediately clear in issue #4 is that play-time is over as far as writers Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir are concerned. Here, the pair trade backstory and characterisation for some much needed action sequences, sprinkled with court intrigue and betrayal for good effect. It’s a dark turn for the series, which until now had built an immersive world but perhaps failed to stir the pot enough for us to care about it. This is not the case for issue #4, which follows Vaea’s flight through the palace as the song of steel echoes down the corridors behind her. The story is tightly-paced and drowned in tension, its pages slashed into bite-sized panels to good effect. It’s clear that the movements of the characters were crafted carefully for this issue, allowing the narrative to speak for itself. But while there’s dynamism to the combat scenes and Vaea’s cloak-and-dagger theft, at times we readers are asked to hold our breath for so long that the whole thing runs out of steam.
Perhaps the facet of Dragon Age: Knight Errant that never really lets oversights such as these leave a lasting impression is the combined efforts of artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa and colourist Michael Atiyeh. As always, the team rubber-stamp the issue with something unique, drawing us further into the Dragon Age realm with a new trick every month. Here, it’s a mixture of a reserved colour palette and images sharper than the swords swung widely across panels. The result is “gritty graphics”-artwork that is drawn with such realism that the stakes are realty raised for our heroes.
And with Sebastian’s palace descended into chaos, can even Vaea and the famous Ser Aaron get out alive?