Written by Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery | Art by Neil Edwards | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp
So here we are, the final issue of this first Assassin’s Creed arc. Del Col and McCreery have so far delivered a very good addition to the Assassin’s Creed universe in lead character Charlotte de la Cruz, though perhaps pushing her back a little bit too much in the shadows at times, and her ancestor Tom Stoddard, probably the real ‘star’ so far of this arc. It has been entertaining stuff, but like a game of football no point having a great build up without any actual pay off at the end. So does this issue deliver?
Now the action has shifted from following ancestor Tom’s exploits through the Animus into the present, we finally get to see Charlotte take centre stage. Is she ready to take on the mantle of an Assassin field agent and rescue her friends? Well, she’s certainly eager and skilled, though obviously will do only what makes her comfortable. A potential witness to her break-in is not killed by her but tied up, very un-Assassin like, but her naivety still leads to his death anyway. The big fight of the issue takes place between traitor Joseph and Xavier and Galina, the latter two having gone to ‘rescue’ Joseph. Joseph kills Xavier and badly injures Galina, though Charlotte intervenes at just the right moment.
This is the point where a good issue becomes an excellent one. Assassin’s Creed #5 could have gone out with a bang, plenty of action and fighting and we would have all been more than satisfied. Del Col and McCreery aren’t having that though, and in a few panels add a whole new level of characterisation to apparent two-dimensional traitor/ villain Joseph. Joseph tells Charlotte a few home truths, that he turned against the Assassins because they betrayed him, allowing someone he loved to die as love is a ‘weakness’, and that all they do is use people like him and her. Charlotte is not a valued Assassin trainee, but an asset with an ability to be exploited. Joseph promises to show her what really is going on but Charlotte, though secretly realising he is at least partly telling the truth, opts to rescue Galina instead.
The theme of this issue is trust. We ,the reader, thought we had a grasp on the good guys and the bad guys, allowing for a little shade of grey here or there. This issue turned that on its head. If Joseph was such a traitor, why did he complete his original mission and not give the Templar’s what they wanted? Charlotte had trust in her new colleagues, only to find she had been lied to all along. The Templar’s trusted Joseph, and he killed them. Trust is a dirty word in this world, and Charlotte has learnt that the hard way. Overall, this issue was a very good one, though with the caveat that nothing has been resolved, which we tend to like with limited series, just that the playing field has been widened, allegiances challenged, characters changed. Although not resolved, we do feel that Charlotte has been on a journey, and has an exciting path ahead of her, a decidedly very dangerous one at that.
As good as the writing was, and it was top notch, Neil Edwards art was superb. His layouts were like the storyboards for a film, pictures in perfect synergy with words, perfect pacing. There was always a feeling of motion, of movement, adding to the general sense of excitement, of non-stop action. Most definitely the perfect artist for this book.
The next arc has a lot to build on, but also a lot to live up to. This arc has been a great read, and I’ll be back to see how Charlotte moves on from here.
Assassin’s Creed #5 is out now from Titan Comics