Written by Dennis Calero | Art by Dennis Calero | Published by Titan Comics
Dennis Calero has been an outstanding job on this second arc of the Templars book, which is just as well considering he writes, pencils, inks and colours it. That’s one heck of a workload, so you have to assume this is something of a labour of love, and for me it certainly hasn’t disappointed. As I said last time round, this book has a more mature feel to it, slighter darker themes and imagery, which gives it its own little distinctive corner of the Assassins Creed universe.
So where did we leave our main players at the end of last issue? Well, in the past Jan Van der Graff has been captured and imprisoned by the Sultan he had come to rob. Solo Bolden, the Black Cross of that era, has seemingly been killed. Things are on a distinct slide. In the present Andre Bolden, at first thought to be a descendent of Solo Bolden but now known to be descended from der Graff, has been in the Animus reliving these days to try and decipher some of the mystery in the past of The Black Cross timeline. At first a willing helper, Andre has become increasingly suspicious of Abstergo, not least because of the immense strain these trips in the Animus are causing him.
The suspicions swirling around are addressed immediately as the issue opens. Boss Otso Berg agrees to come clean with Andre and reveal what this is all about, just as a member of his team is revealed to be working for the other side on a Trojan horse mission. They want Andre dead before Berg actually finds the Koh-i-noor diamond, the Piece of Eden that was supposed to be a wild goose chase. Andre is swiftly brought back in after a failed assassination attempt on him, and is put back in the Animus, where his ancestor has been enduring torture under the eyes of Lord Selim.
Lord Selim doesn’t seem to particularly care for either Templars or Assassins, and plans to use the Koh-i-noor to destroy both of them. Der Graff is thrown back in a dungeon, only to be confronted by a mysterious figure who tells him he plans to train him. Der Graff look s as confused as we are, but that mystery will have to wait for another day. Back in the present things are escalating. Violet gives Andre his ancestors weapon, either to win his trust so she can kill him or having switched teams genuinely, and another member of the team is murdered to slow down the hunt for the Koh-i-noor. Phew, got all that?
Another very strong issue all round. The focus this issue switched completely from the ancestor’s story to that of Andre in the present, and was all the better for it. It felt like a really great political thriller full of lots of moodily lit conversations, never quite knowing who is doing what to whom, and an innocent patsy in the middle you fear for. Calero has full control of his cast of characters, pulling the strings masterfully. The art perfectly paces out the beats of the story, as you would expect, and looks rather fantastic while doing so. As good as these issues have been, you just know Calero has paced this out to leave the biggest stuff for last, as next issue wraps us this arc. Who will live? who will die? Great stuff.
Dennis Calero, the best one man band since, er, that last one. But with pens and brushes, obviously.
Assassin’s Creed: Templars #8 is released tomorrow, Dec 7th, by Titan Comics