When I first heard Dark Horse was releasing another series of Dragon Age comics, my response was so high pitched and piercing people in South Dakota thought it was the apocalypse. Hearing Magekiller was meant to begin shortly before the Inquisition and coincide with the vast organization’s inception only increased the volume of my fangirl screams. I love Bioware’s Dragon Age universe. Thedas is one of a very tight handful of imaginary places I would give anything to transport myself to so I might spend the rest of my days hunting Fereldan Frostbacks and Abyssal High Dragons and trading their scales and horns for heavy sacks of gold.
Magekiller… With a title like that I had no idea what to expect when they launched issue one of this glorious comic experience, but I was excited to dive back in and delve deeper into a world I spend countless hours of my free time exploring through all mediums available. The story revolves around a pair of mercenaries, Tessa and Marius, who earn their coin tracking down and exterminating magic users. Told from Tessa’s point of view, her wit at times almost rivals that of Kirkwall’s own Varric Tethras, while Marius remains mysteriously silent and solitary at the center of the story. Even Tessa doesn’t know all there is to know about Marius, but she trusts him with her life. She knows the reasons he does the things he does are rooted deep within, and he may never expose them to her, or anyone else for that matter. The one thing she does know for certain is that his deep distrust when it comes to magic drives him in everything he does, and no amount of begging or pleading on the mage’s behalf is going to change the way he feels about it.
Magic is not to be trusted. It is dangerous and all too often cruel in its nature, and as the story unfolds we learn Marius was once a Tevinter slave, bound by heart to Venatori leader Calpernia. As the story delved a little deeper into Calpernia’s character, I found myself regretting all those times I sided against the Templars in-game (which was pretty much every time because mage rights, yo,) and launching a new game so I could finally finish a play-through where I sided with the Templars. I wanted to learn more about Calpernia, persuade her to do the right thing, something impossible to do with Samson, the Red Templar.
Over the course of the five comic arc, Marius and Tessa’s actions take them from Minrathous to Ferelden, eventually turning the eye of the great Inquisition. Once Charter recruits them we are given further adventures with a few treasured Inquisition allies, including Dorian and Bull’s Chargers, which was so glorious I actually screeched like a pterodactyl.
The thing is, even without those familiar characters to seal the deal and keep me grounded in the tale, Magekiller was a wonderful story arc that made me fall in love with both Marius and Tessa before all was said and done. As always, the story centered around something Bioware prides themselves in when building their games: the power of true friendship. The bond between Tessa and Marius often feels stretched because of how private and solitary Marius is as a person, but deep down Tessa knows no matter what anyone says he will always have her back. Always.
I sincerely hope Rucka and Bioware continue to expand the adventures of these characters. The artwork was as beautiful and compelling as the story, and it was delightful to have this opportunity to spend more time in my imaginary home world of Thedas.
5 out of 5 stars for the entire 5 comic arc. If you love Dragon Age, the lore, the cities, the history, the people, you will definitely want to check this out.