Written by: Greg Rucka - Inks by: Terry Pallot
Pencils by: Carmen Carnero - Colors by: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering by: Michael Heisler
Bioware lovingly crafted the Dragon Age Universe through multiple games, and gave us a multitude of memorable characters. Now Dark Horse Comics has contributed two of their own to that rich canon, and hopefully this isn’t the last we see of them.
Dragon Age Magekiller introduces us to Marius and Tessa, two “specialists” as they call themselves that make a living taking down mages. These two have an obvious bond from the outset, with Tessa’s narration of their first fight displaying an intimate knowledge of her partner’s philosophies and responsibilities. Though honestly, that responsibility is awfully burdensome, and writer Greg Rucka illustrates that succinctly through Tessa’s words and Marius’s general demeanor (for example on page 10). Nothing too overblown or sappy. Rucka avoids the cliched brooding journeyman vibe, and instead Marius appears as someone who carries his burdensome load with a sort of calm acceptance, rather than sullen self pity.
While Marius does most of the dirty work, Tessa does most everything else, and is the brightest light in Magekiller. Her comfortable repartee she shares with Marius seems earned by the things they’ve gone through together. She is all at once protective of him yet not afraid to point out his shortcomings, and doesn’t take grief from anyone else. Case in point, when she meets the rather curt Flavius on page 15, or her entire one sided diatribe on page 13 about Marius’s lack of gratitude (or any sort of reaction really) for her efforts. The fact that this moment includes a nice call out to a certain dwarf archer is just icing on the cake.
The book wouldn’t be as impactful if it weren’t for the lovely work of Carmen Carnero and Michael Atiyeh. From the fluid and graceful spells that swirl around the mages in battle to the spot on facial expressions during a page full of dialog, the art team delivers. The team also delivers a nicely scripted fight sequence with just the right amount of gore towards the beginning of the book. I really can’t say enough good things about their work here.
I’m extremely happy with how this series debuted, and can’t help but wonder what Marius and Tessa would look like in Dragon Age Inquisition, or any other Dragon Age game for that matter. The fact that I want to see them in the games at all speaks to how well they fit into the Bioware ecosystem, and that is a pretty big compliment. The series is off to a truly great start.
Dragon Age Magekiller #1 Releases on December 16th.