Written by Ian Edginton | Art by Caspar Wijngaard | Published by Titan Comics
Until relatively recently, comics based on games were something that I would very rarely pick up. They were often just cheap cash-ins, primarily designed to drum up interest in the main product itself, and lacking in both quality and creator enthusiasm. Titan have seemingly taken this as something of a challenge as most of their game-based series have been very good, notably Deus Ex, Dark Souls, and of course Assassins Creed.
Assassins Creed has become the gold standard in that rather than just tread safe water, the creative teams have purposely expanded that universe, introduced new characters, played with the Assassin/Templar dynamic, mixed things up enough to make it seem familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Assassin’s Creed Last Descendants: Locus is the latest book to emerge from that, and this time the ‘hero’ is Tommy Greyling, a nineteenth century American Pinkerton agent.
Tommy is called to the deathbed of a friend who has been poisoned, and who reveals the Templars control the administration of President Grant and were responsible for his imminent death. Just to reinforce this, a female assassin dressed as a nurse comes to finish the job, before Tommy scares her off. We then shift to the present, where we meet Tommy’s descendent Sean, who is watching Tommy’s activities through the Animus, which allows Sean to experience Tommy’s life and help the present day Assassins Guild locate missing Pieces of Eden in the present.
The interesting angle here is that Sean is disabled, confined to a wheelchair, whereas as Tommy he can experience walking and movement again; this makes his handler uneasy, as it is treading on very thin psychological ground. It also makes Sean’s friends uneasy, as he is ignoring the fact he is being used so long as he can pseudo walk again.
We shift back again into the Animus, to 1872 London to be exact, and Tommy is running across rooftops back on the trail of that same female assassin who killed his friend. He again proves he is no way near her equal in single combat, and is narrowly saved from falling to his death by the appearance of two hooded Assassins, Henry Green and Evie Frye, seemingly working with Inspector Abberline of the Metropolitan Police (history buffs may recall Abberline was the real life Chief Inspector who tried to capture Jack the Ripper in the 1880′s).
I really enjoyed this, the first part of a planned four part limited series. Ian Edginton made good use of his page count here, interweaving a lot of dialogue and exposition with some nice action sequences and characterisation. The story flowed very naturally, and I liked the way he gave both his central characters (Tommy in the past, Sean in the present) depth and plenty of scope with future plots. Edginton was a great choice as scripter, having as he has a huge comics track record, covering many genres and publishers. He also writes great character dialogue too.
Although I was less familiar with the work of artist Caspar Wijngaard, I liked the feel of his artwork here. It suited the tone of the story perfectly, was very nicely paced, and managed to not let a very wordy script overpower the artwork. Action sequences had a real energy to them, dialogue sequences had a good mood and choice of panel style, and the art and script seemed a very good, natural fit indeed.
Overall, a very strong first issue that managed to introduce all the core concepts needed to understand the story, but in such a way it was still a fun read as a standalone issue. Not just for fans of the games, this is a worthwhile read for fans of any action heavy comics, books, or films. Worth picking up.