Dark Horse has a new five issue Dragon Age mini-series out, subtitled “Knight Errant”. Based on the lands and history of Bioware’s Dragon Age video game franchise, each new series focuses on original characters with self contained stories that run parallel, or briefly cross paths, with the storylines in the game. A few notable characters from the game are mentioned or make cameos, with dwarven author and adventurer, Varric Tethras, appearing the most frequently and playing a slightly bigger role in each. “Knight Errant” focuses on the elf Vaea and her simple life as a squire to wandering knight Ser Aaron Hawthorne. Is it good?
Writer: Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir
Artist: Fernando Heinz Furukawa
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
The story picks up with the good Ser Hawthorne amusing the passengers on a ship with tales of his past adventures. Vaea narrates and gives her thoughts on being a squire and hearing the same stories again and again. It’s noted that elves are a lower class of citizen and it’s rare for one to be able to achieve the rank of squire for a renowned knight. The ship they’re sailing on is headed to the city of Kirkwall, whose newest Viscount is the series regular, Varric Tethras. Of course the entire book isn’t about how boring being a squire is and we find out Vaea isn’t quite as innocent as she first seems. She practices a particular line of night time work, which elves are known to be good at, for which being a squire makes a good cover.
I liked the story well enough. As the first two characters, Ser Hawthorne and Vaea, are introduced, you quickly get the feeling everything doesn’t add up, making me anticipate how Vaea’s story would unfold. I liked how it started with Hawthrone spinning his tall tale of heroically stopping a war, as it set up his character’s personality right away without a lot of exposition. Vaea is likable, and not as broody as she first seems, but after it’s revealed that she’s a thief and we see her tiptoeing over rooftops with a cloak and hood on, I worried she’d become too cliched moving forward. Still, Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, who wrote the script, did a good enough job setting the characters up and putting the story in motion in this first volume.
The art was ok, but looked better in the larger panels, such as the boat sailing up to Kirkwall and the giant slavery monuments that stood in front of the town. Some of the facial expressions looked a bit cartoony, with Vaea and some of the other background characters, having larger than normal eyes. It was a little jarring since others, such as Varric, were drawn with more realistically proportioned facial features. It certainly made Vaea standout, perhaps because she was an elf or maybe just to highlight her expressions, but it seemed like an anime character was dropped into a more western art style. The colorist, Michael Atlyeh, did some nice work with lighting, particularly the nighttime setting as Vaea conducted her after-hours exploits, letting colors stand out, without making the panels too dark.
Is It Good?
Dragon Age: Knight Errant delivers a competent first issue, with the tale of an elf with a double life, that checks most of the boxes for a medieval fantasy. There isn’t a lot of action, as it lays down the ground work for what’s to come, but the characters where likable enough and the pacing moved at a decent clip. Fans of Dragon Age will find what they are looking for, with reoccurring characters from the series and references to events from the broader universe. However, the tropes and settings seem overly familiar and people who aren’t well versed in the series’ lore might give the book a pass.