Title: Dragon Age: Until We Sleep
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: David Gaider and Alexander Freed
Artist: Chad Hardin
Cover Art: Anthony Palumbo
Retail Price: $3.99
Taking place after the events of BioWare’s Dragon Age II game, Dragon Age: Until We Sleep is the first in a three part series that will be just the fix fans are looking for until DA3 comes out later this year. On the other hand, this book may also serve as a prelude for newbies where Dark Horse has proclaimed this title as, “A perfect entry point into this epic fantasy”. Let us dig into this trade and find out shall we?
As he was in Dragon Age II, Varric the dwarf will once again provide the story telling in this adventure. So if you have played the game and heard his voice, you’ll easily hear his play by play while reading his narrative in the panels, well at least I did anyways. Along with Varric you will also have fan favorites Alistair, Isabela, not to mention the Quanari and Blood Mages to make you feel right at home as well.
The story begins within the dark fortress of Ath Velanis, where Varric (and his trusty crossbow Bianca), Alistair and Isabela partake on a siege of the fortress to find Alistar’s father, King Maric, whom is held by the evil blood mage Aurelian Titus. As the invasion into the mage’s stronghold takes place, Varric takes you into a flash back on how this mad quest began.
Out at sea weeks before the battle takes place, ‘Captain’ Isabela, now allies with the Quanari, and Varric chat it up briefly before meeting with Alistair and King Arishok, the leader of the Qunari. Determined to find a motive for Marics capture, Arishok recites a story of Alistairs descendant, King Calenhad, that drank of dragon’s blood to provide him strength like no other. This blood has traveled through generations of Alistairs fathers and is greatly desired by the blood mage. Knowing that the same blood flows thru him, Alistair himself becomes aware that he is being seeked out as well.
Focusing back to the siege of Ath Velanis, Isabela and Alistair encounter the blood mage Titus on the battlefront with the Quanari. Where they find the battle will be a difficult one, especially against the mage’s powerful magic. Meanwhile deep in the dungeons of the stronghold, Varric continues to seek out Alistairs captive father. During his search he comes to find a mage held captive, Maevaris Tilani, which Varric considers family and ‘one of the best of us’. She points him the direction to the laboratory, where she thinks it used to be a torture chamber. There Varric finds the captive King Maric,, suspended by chains and leached onto by an magical orb beneath him draining the life out of him. In an attempt to save the King, Varric makes a decision which ultimately leaves you with the cliff hanger in this first of three series (Part 2 release April 2013)
Overall, ‘Until We Sleep’ feels right in line for those who are following Dragon Age, as it should since the story is created by the very lead writer of the Dragon Age games and novels, David Gaider. Chad Hardin’s artwork also keeps you visually focused throughout and is presented by a great Varric cover art created by Anthony Palumbo (son of Julie Bell/stepson of Boris Vallejo, both legendary artists), which will cover the other 2 books as well.
This series will certainly please any dedicated fan of the title, especially those fresh off of Dragon Age II where the characters alone will automatically draw you in. I found it to be a solid story and the art kept me interested in parallel. From an outside the box (non-fan) perspective, or if you’re just a casual fan of the game or genre, this is indeed a title that serves as a great entry point to Dragon Age as well. If you need to dig in further or if you want to continue quenching that Dragon Age thirst, you can also check out Dark Horses’ other latest release, Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Vol 1, which covers every little bit of detail you can imagine for this fantasy masterpiece such as Races, Religion, Nations, History, Magic, The Fade, and so on. Fans be at ease, these releases will certainly keep you at bay until Dragon Age III hits stores.