Calum Petrie reviews Dragon Age: Dark Fortress #1…
The expansive and deep world of Dragon Age is a joy to delve into, and any chance to submerge myself in more history, lore and mythology from this property can only be a good thing. Originally a video game released in 2009, Dragon Age: Origins was a huge hit for developer Bioware. They were riding a high from their epic sci-fi trilogy Mass Effect, while capitalising on using their pedigree as a developer of rich and vast game worlds to create a fantasy title to balance the scales.
Dragon Age was met with commercial and critical success, so much so that two more games in the series followed, with a fourth instalment on its way, along with a host of books and comics to expand the universe – including the new Dark Fortress series from Dark Horse Comics.
We open in the battlefield of Osagar, the night the King was betrayed by his adviser Loghain abandoned his duty and turned his back on the king. Yet that is not the focus of the story, instead Ser Arron remembers his duty and rushes to the king. Though we find that this is just Arron reliving a nightmare and that an event from his past is still haunting him to this day, 15 years later.
The group of travellers are travelling to Tevinter to kill a specific target, and at this point players of Dragon Age 2 will notice Fenris as he has also featured in other Dark Horse comics from the Dragon Age timeline. The team have to target and kill a person within the Castellum Tenebris, which is a foreboding fortress that has a single entryway – a bridge of water. The party must find a way to get inside.
The other half of the story is that the new Lord Danarius and company are doing what the Tevinter people do – using magic to enhance and increase their own abilities. The subplot shows a hierarchy of deceit playing out in its most basic of fashions, and the results for both parties do take a hard left turn when another situation arises and threatens to send everyone’s plans to hell.
Dragon Age: Dark Fortress #1 was a pleasure to read, while also testing me on my knowledge of the games (which I have played fairly recently). The deep dives into characters really helps expand all parts of the Dragon Age story, without making it seem like a cheap nod to the games.
While different from the graphical styles of the games, the artwork here certainly does not hurt the comic. Instead the amazing use of facial expressions in this story is a testament to Fernando Heinz Furukawa; this time and detail to evoke specific emotions on a drawn character on just about every page must be a sign of the level of passion and detail they take in their work.
Dark Fortress #1 is well worth a read for fans of the comic adventures, though if you are planning to use this as a jumping on point you might want to go back and read previous Dragon Age comics first or you may be left a tad confused as to who everyone is exactly. Overall though, this was a fun opener and I will be looking forward to where the party end up in the next issue.
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