Written by Dennis Calero | Art by Dennis Calero | Published by Titan Comics
Assassin’s Creed Templars #9 brings both some good news and some bad news it seems. The bad news is that this issue will be the final one of the series. That, for me, is a real shame as this has been an excellent book throughout its two story arcs, with its introduction of the Black Cross mythology into this world. A special shout out as well to Dennis Calero, who has been a fixture since the first issue, both as artist and ,of late, writer as well. The good news I mentioned? I’ll save that for the end of the review.
Last issue saw us juggling two storylines, one in the past, one in the present. In the past Jan van de Graff was banged up in the prison of Lord Selim, a man filled with hatred for both Assassins and Templars. Execution awaits, though a mysterious Templar cellmate has promised to help him escape. In the present, his descendant Andre Bolden has been helping the Templars, but at increasing physical cost dues to the strain from the Animus. Abstergo boss Otso Berg has also realised that he has a traitor in his team, one that wants Andre dead before he can help the Templars find the koh-i-noor diamond back in the past.
We start off in the present,with the suspicions flying around after the death of Caitlin. Although she was set up to seem the traitor Berg is not buying it. He persuades Bolden to re-enter the Animus to try and complete their mission. de Graff has embraced his training from his mysterious Templar helper, and has been tasked with not only escaping but also securing the koh-i-noor before the Assassins arrive to take it from Selim. One swift jailbreak later, Graff finds the Assassins have been there all along, as Selim’s advisor Ahkbar is revealed as one of them, poisoning his ‘master’ and taking the diamond.
After a confrontation between the two, Graff kills Akhbar, and finds himself in the middle of a group of Assassins. Surprisingly he hands over the box containing the diamond, telling them he killed Akhbar not because he was an Assassin but because Akhbar killed his friend. That debt has been paid. Very honourable…. but complete rubbish of course. As his descendent reveals later, the box was empty. Templar training aside, Graff is still something of a scoundrel, but one who leads to a dead end for Berg. Some things resolved, some things not so much. Bolden, however, decides, this is where he gets off and wishes Berg luck in his ongoing war. He returns the Black Cross symbol, ready for a future owner to take.
As a wrap up issue, this fell a little short of the build up from the last 3 issues. They had been so good I expected a really strong resolution. We didn’t get that, but got a probably much more realistic ending. Things don’t get wrapped up in neat little bows I guess. As a standalone issue, however, this was as strong as any we’ve seen. Two strong narratives, two interesting groups of characters, and two worlds as grey in their morality as each other. Calero’s art was even better than his scripting, with strong storytelling throughout. What especially enhances everything is the very moody colouring, always enhancing the mood and feel of events.
The good news I mentioned at the beginning of the review? The final page confirms that The Black Cross will be back. The ending also pointed at this. Bolden’s story seems to be over, but not that of Berg and his quest for the bloodline and diamond. I very much hope Dennis Calero is still involved as and when this happens. Assassin’s Creed does have a very strong stable of books but I will miss this one, one that moved in slightly darker, murkier circles.
Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for the return.
Assassin’s Creed Templars #9 is released on January 25th, courtesy of Titan Comics.