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Dragon Age: Magekiller #1

Yes! New Dragon Age content! And after the last Dragon Age comics, I was really looking forward to this one. So far, it looks really exciting!

Spoilers under the cut.

The two main characters are Marius, a bounty hunter, and Tessa, his handler.

The first chapter is from Tessa's point of view. Tessa's very fun and confident, and she jokes around with Marius and has obviously been with him a while because his mannerisms don't get on her nerves. I can't wait to see her in future installments.

Marius, on the other hand... Well, he's just every broody white male lead, isn't he?

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Looking smugly at the blood mage after she just blasted him.
(Honestly, he looks a lot like Carver Hawke, which is fine for Carver because Carver came first, but not for some new character.)

He's got that perpetual scowl and he doesn't talk a lot, he just does the dirty work. So far, the only thing I like about him is that he's apparently a fan of not just Swords & Shields, but also just Varric's work in general. Other than that, though, he's not a very compelling character so far, and given he seems to be framed as the focal character of this story is concerning. Of course, knowing BioWare, his emotional core will show eventually. My worry, though, given the implications of his past, is that we're going to get another Fenris, just without the lyrium tattoos. Marius hates Tevinter, refuses to work there, because it's the country that "made [him]," and there are heavy implications he may have been a slave there. Hopefully, he becomes more interesting and, also hopefully, he's not another BioWare (or literary) trope. Give us a new character! Even if it's another broody white dude (ugh).

Other characters we've met are an elf named Flavius, and his master, Archon Radonis. Cue my incoherent screaming because we finally get to SEE THE ARCHON!!!! And he's -and he's...!

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WHAT THE HELL IS HE WEARING????? Not even kidding, that was my first thought upon seeing him, followed by "Dorian better fucking change that when he becomes Archon" (because I headcanon future-Archon!Dorian so hard I've accepted it as an eventuality). His outfit is so ridiculous! I thought Dorian's magister robes were funny, but Archon Radonis' are just over-the-top. It's not even just the shoulders, it's THAT HAT! How does it even work? It's broad both ways and then there's cloth draping from the back of it!!! And that's just the outfit! Look at that pointed beard! Oh my god, he's so ridiculous. Dorian was dragging on the Divine's robes, but has he seen his own country's archon? Because our Divine looks tame compared to him.

HOW COOL IS IT TO SEE THE ARCHON???? Ridiculous outfit not included, we're finally meeting the Archon of Tevinter! We're getting deep into Tevinter politics now and I CAN'T WAIT.

So, here's where I talk about what I didn't like.

I already talked about Marius, so let's move on to how we've met four named characters so far and only one of them is female? And the only other female character we've seen in the comic with any "significance" is the woman on the cover, who was a blood mage apostate who was killed in the first couple pages by Marius (who cut her neck with a wire and then stabbed through her chest from behind with a sword, a little excessive and a lot bloody) and became an Arcane Horror. Even the person who was implied to be the victim/sacrifice for her blood magic ritual (which I'm guessing is what she was doing before Marius and Tessa showed up) was some sweet-looking young man (also white). Which leads us to how, besides Tessa and the Archon, everyone we've met so far is white. Hopefully now that we're in Tevinter, we'll see (much) more people of color.

As far as within-lore problems I'm having, again we see the return of the All Mages Are Evil diatribe and Everyone Hates Mages and probably Mages Should Be Locked Up. Seriously. That's blood mage apostate woman? Tessa says that "this" was "an old story," where a girl and boy fall in love and the "girl turns out to be an apostate blood mage," and it "goes downhill from there, as they say." Yet again, the narrative has not just vilified all blood mages, but also mages in general. Especially with that opening monologue, where Tessa talks about how magic is "a cheat." She admits that there's a price, what with the constant threat of possession and whatnot, but that doesn't negate the fact that magic is cheating because people like "you and me" could never do what a mage is capable of. I'll admit that this is true, but the way it's framed makes it obvious that Tessa thinks mages shouldn't be allowed, which is bullshit. I'm an avid supporter of the equality of mages within Thedas, and also an avid supporter of the character, Anders, and of his cause and his passion for it (including the destruction of the Kirkwall chantry). Ever since Dragon Age 2, the narrative have given us very few, if any, mage-sympathetic narratives. I'm hoping that with Marius and Tessa working within the most magic-friendly country in Thedas that we'll see more mages who aren't the "evil blood mage" trope. I'll even go for friendly blood mages, seriously (I mean, we're in Tevinter, so...). Besides, Tevinter's home to people like Dorian, Maevaris, Halward Pavus (who, before trying to change Dorian, once said blood magic was the method of cowards), and the Alexiuses (who, before joining up with the Venatori, were the kind of people Dorian probably considered family and had nothing bad to say about them excluding the Venatori stuff), and not to mention Dorian and Maevaris' new political party, the Lucerni, comprised of like-minded young magisters. These mages represent a larger population within Tevinter who don't support blood magic, and, excluding Halward (who I'm not sure about his POV on the matter), want to see Tevinter progress toward becoming a nation that can stand as an example for Thedas in a good way! And these are all mages! Even if this story is about the rise of the Venatori within Thedas, the writers can still find a way to fit these types of mages in, as well!

Regardless, I'm excited and I can't wait to see where this story's going.