15th Jan2016

‘Assassin’s Creed #3′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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

AC3

As tie-ins go, this has been a pretty impressive effort so far by all involved, using the familiarity of the Assassin’s Creed brand and world, but expanding it by introducing new characters and new wrinkles to an occasionally strained formula. The nod to the strain between the actions of ancestors, with their own set of morals and values, and to their present day descendants, often very uncomfortable with said actions but unable to alter them, is a good one. The blurring of lines so far has also been interesting. Are the Assassins really right? Do the Templars not actually have similar intentions but just choose a different way to reach them?

Although the star of the book technically is Charlotte de la Cruz, recruited by the modern day Assassins Guild, it is her ancestors who so far have stolen the limelight. I must admit to being slightly bemused by the fact that the writers started the first issue by introducing us to Charlotte, a strong willed, independent woman, and since then have barely used her and consigned her to a supporting role not only to her own ancestors, but also to the modern day supporting cast. I know there are only so many pages per issue and a lot of story to fit in, but a good writer makes the pages work for him and not let the page count dictate the story.

But I digress.

The biggest ‘star’ so far is Tom Stoppard, a master assassin operating in seventeenth century Salem, and issue 2 left him in something of a pickle, surrounded by a mob of angry townspeople as he tried to obtain the ‘Piece of Eden’, surprisingly found in the person of a young girl called Dorothy. Helped by his novice assistant Jennifer, Stoppard again shows he is not afraid to take whatever action necessary to complete his mission. The Assassins do have a code they will not kill innocents, but anything else goes. Tom’s character is also developed a little here and there, especially his moral conundrum between doing his duty to the Assassins and his responsibility to an innocent young girl. Like the theme of greyness across the Templar and Assassins groups, Tom is not certain his way is the only way.

Much like the best parts of the best Assassin’s Creed games, the pace is frantic, characters in both past and present dealing with difficult situations best as they can. Action certainly trumps any further major fleshing out of backgrounds or back story, but then if the book is called Assassin’s Creed I would imagine you would expect that. I enjoyed the action sequences, mainly due yet again to the slick, smooth artwork of Neil Edwards. Reading the flow of his storytelling, the well placed panel layouts, is never a chore and enables you to let the story do the work, taking you along with it. Old seventeenth century buildings and dress or modern day, it matters not. Static art could kill a book like this, so Edwards is a huge part of making it work.

Assassin’s Creed #3 maintains a good level, though dips slightly from the previous two issues. I had moments where I felt the writers were forcing the story forward, not allowing it to organically develop as it should. Characters acting a little too unnatural, and a plot point that although gives us a nice dramatic moment directly contradicts what the games and established continuity have previously taught us about the nature of the connection between past and present.

Overall though, still a book worth picking up. What it does, it does well, and if you can overlook one or two little details here and there you’ll enjoy the action and story to be had.

***½  3.5/5

Assassin’s Creed #3 is out now from Titan Comics

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