19th Oct2015

‘Assassin’s Creed #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery | Art by Neil Edwards | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp

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I am never quite sure if being a fan of a certain property is a positive or negative when reviewing it. Can you be too generous with praise? or do you subject it to tougher than normal scrutiny? This is partly my dilemma reviewing Assassins Creed: Trial By Fire. I have played all the games, and am definitely a fan, so this book was intriguing to me. It has a very promising creative team on board, notably the excellent artist Neil Edwards but also the co-writers of IDW series Kill Shakespeare, Del Col and McCreery,which has a very unique voice.

The main story is very straight forward to pick up, perhaps too easy, as though the writers felt they had to take it easy on the reader and spoon feed us the plot and main characters. Case in point the main character Charlotte de la Cruz, an avid gamer and disillusioned bank clerk. We know she’s good because she rails against injustice where she sees it, be it not getting on in life from her lowly background to diverting funds to a needy customer from a horrible corporation. She is then contacted by a group called The Brotherhood, who help her narrowly being attacked and captured/ killed by some shady people who show up at her door.

Turns out the Helix games system she plays actually consists of levels made from actual memories, and the Templar’s use the gamers to look back into these memories and find powerful objects and artefacts through history that they can use in the modern day to control and direct society. The Brotherhood tell her they need her to go back into her ancestors memories, using the Animus machine we all know really well from the games, as an agent of theirs is trying to take out a top Templar agent. The bad news? just happens to be at the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Charlotte soon learns the rules. You cannot go in to your ancestors memories and do anything they would not, such as try and save ‘witches’ from being burnt, as you de-synch and return to the present.

I really enjoyed this. The writing ensured we knew just enough about the main character to get going, and then it was pretty much all-out action. Fast and furious suits Assassins Creed, so the writers certainly ensured they kept true to the game’s roots. Enough mystery was retained for later issues, when I assume we learn more about the operation to take down the senior Templar, and there are enough shades of grey to make us wonder are The Brotherhood really the good guys?

Neil Edwards art was as good as I was expecting it to be. Great layouts as always, and some nice larger panels, Edwards always makes the script zing along. He is an excellent artist at conveying movement and action, and helped the fast script move at the pace the writers wanted. Nice distinctive figures and environments also create believable worlds, be it the present or past.

A really good start to the series for me. My only real reservation is that the writers almost dumbed down the concept too much, obviously wanting readers onboard who aren’t well versed in Assassins Creed lore, so after the first introductory issue will hopefully settle in to their stride better and just tell a good story. That aside, all the right boxes ticked and this shows real promise.

**** 4/5

Assassin’s Creed #1 is available now from Titan Comics

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