Friday, May 12, 2017

Review - Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"The war had barely ended, and it was about to begin anew."

The role of knight is one filled with honor and respect. It's not often that you're both a knight and something less knightly, such as a thief. Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 from Dark Horse Comics is fine with that dichotomy. The issue is written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, illustrated by Fernando Heinz Furukawa, colored by Michael Atiyeh and lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot.

Elven squire Vaea and her knight arrive in Kirkwall for Varric Tethras’s appointment as viscount. A talented thief, Vaea takes on an easy job...but when she chooses to change the terms of the deal midheist, she is entangled in a dangerous mission that is surely above her pay grade.

DeFilippis and Weir offer a somewhat interesting twist in Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 by making Vaea both a squire and a thief as the two occupations are seemingly at odds with one another morally. That serves the story well in that funneling the events of the story through both her and her knight offer a somewhat unexpected look at knighthood. DeFilippis and Weir define Vaea as extremely capable at being both a squire and thief, but the twists she encounters definitely make things interesting. Their dialogue is a great fit for the atmosphere of the book itself, tapping into the language and exchanges that are familiar to readers of fantasy books. And there are plenty of references to the "errant" in the title, both in Vaea straying from the expected ideals of knighthood and her knight recounting tales of adventure that he always seems to be seeking.

Furukawa's approach with the art is somewhat cartoonish in its appearance. The general look of the characters reminds the reader the issue is rooted in fantasy as facial expressions are exaggerated in some panels for emotional effect. The empty gutters give the panels more room to breathe and draw the focus into the action. Furukawa relies on a largely standard grid format that makes it easy to follow along with Vaea as she works the job she was hired for. Atiyeh's colors are fantastic at setting the stage, providing a brighter look for the daytime action at the docks and darkening things for the cover of night that assists a thief in her work.

Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 further explores the Dragon Age universe by subverting some expectations that come with certain character occupations. Vaea is very talented at being a thief, but there are still some gigs that can ensnare even the best in something bigger than they expected. DeFilippis and Weir offer a story that effectively characterizes the main characters well. Furukawa's artwork is strong and infuses the book with a sufficient amount of fantasy appeal. Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 doesn't require an understanding of the broader Dragon Age universe to know what's going on, but it does ask the reader to enjoy believing in elves.

Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 is available now.

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