Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dragon Age, Volume 1: The Silent Grove by David Gaider & Alexander Freed, illustrated by Chad Hardin

Pub date: July 25th, 2012.

Author website.

Available in print for the first time, Dragon Age: The Silent Grove is the perfect introduction to BioWare's dark fantasy universe In this essential, canonical story from David Gaider, lead writer of the games, King Alistair, accompanied only by rogues Isabela and Varric, embarks on a quest deep inside the borders of Antiva - a nation of assassins Together, they will encounter a prison break, dragons, the mysterious Witch of the Wilds, and one of the greatest secrets in the history of the world. (

I'm falling more and more in love with comics the more I read them.    This is such a great introduction to this whole world and it's left me feigning for more.  Between the artwork and the snark I really couldn't get enough of it.

It's a fully realized world that gives me everything I'm looking for in a fantasy (kind of like Gaider tapped into my head and pulled out my fantasy needs) without overdoing it.  There's magic and sorcery and dragons and villains and damaged heros and anti-heros but none of it seems overdone.  Unlike some fantasy it's not trying too hard at all.  In fact it's barely trying because it really doesn't have to.  The world feels effortless.  From the beginning I'm in the middle of it, I believe in it and it keeps me reading.

The three main character are all absolutely amazing.  Alistair is a total snarker which, for a king in fantasy, at least in my experience, is a no-go.  An unserious king?  No way.  Way, Ted!  It's like if Simon Pegg wrote a fantasy this would be it.  Alistair knows what he needs to do and tries his damndest to get it done but holy shit if things don't get in his way.  He emotes a little, cracks jokes to himself and then sets back out again barely feeling set back but maybe just a little.

Isabela is a total hardass chick that I'd like to get to know more about.  She's a pirate, captain of her own ship and damn it all if she doesn't remind you about her fists of glory and the fact that she can nail you to a wall.  But she's not so tough as to be obnoxious.She falls a few times and while she's not the kind of person to constantly take help she knows when she needs it and begrudgingly accepts.  She's also one to readily offer her help.  For a price, of course.

And Varric?  The snark-master dwarf?  I don't know how you have comedic relief in something that's kind of a comedy already but Varric is it.  The quips he kept coming out with had me laughing out loud.  Literally.

Here's some snarkxamples (snamples?) -

06/09page 79
96.0%""My name is Alistair Theirin and I'm king of Ferelden. Long live the king, long may he reign! And so forth. Pray to the maker he doesn't do something stupid…""
06/09page 68
83.0%""Evidently we're going to ask Claudio how it feels to be stabbed in the chest.""
06/09page 39
48.0%""That sound is coming closer." "What do we do?" "Brown our trousers.""

One is Alistair, two is Isabela and three is Varric.  I need more DRAGON AGE.  Sooner rather than later.  Like fantasy?  Like humor?  Like a story that doesn't take itself too seriously?  DRAGON AGE. Now.

Ban Factor: High - Fantasy world with no Christianity, magic and dragons.  It's just far to much for small minds to process.
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