15th Mar2018

‘Assassin’s Creed Origins #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Anthony Del Col | Art by PJ Kaiowa | Published by Titan Comics

Assassins-Creed-Origins-1-Cover-B-Game

Seems an age since I reviewed an Assassin’s Creed title, which is a shame as I really enjoy the Assassins Creed universe. Love the games, the novelisations, most of the comics and didn’t hate the movie, though many seemed too. Assassin’s Creed strength has always been twofold. Firstly, the ability to mine any era of history and fit the Assassins/Templar/Precursor narrative into it, using a mixture of fiction and fact. The interweaving of real historical people into the stories is also genius, though their Templar or Assassin affiliation is of course fictional….we think. Secondly, there is the modern aspect. The game within a game as it were, as we also deal with storylines in the ‘real’ world, the modern day, as the historical adventure is used as the backdrop to modern day shenanigans between the Order and the Brotherhood.

So, Assassin’s Creed Origins was the latest game in the series, this time going way back to the time of Ancient Egypt. I have yet to play the new game so I came into this issue fresh, and so can judge it on its own merits. What makes this series especially interesting is that it goes back to the very beginning, the formation of the Creed. Which sounds pretty cool, right? Apart from a little Cleopatra interlude, we start with Aya and Bayek, the heroes of the game, in Rome. This seems to be set after the game, as they have (spoilers warning) avenged the death of their son and are now fighting against the Order of The Ancients, which I assume are the proto-Templars. The man at the top of that particular pyramid is Julius Caesar himself. Aya and Bayek are forming a ‘brotherhood’ to fight back, and they have in their corner Brutus, once a devoted follower of Caesar, now an enemy of his undemocratic ways.

Brutus has realised that Caesar must die, and Aya is happy to do it. Romans, however, love a show so instead of assassinating him quietly, it has to be done in a very public way. Tomorrow, on the Ides of March. You may have heard of it. So, Aya assassinates Caesar on the floor of the Senate, ushering in a golden age of Roman democracy and the end of the Order. Actually, no it doesn’t. seems like Romans don’t like people assassinating their leaders, even ones with a dictatorial bent. Aya realises, to her horror, that rather than weaken the Order, Caesar’s assassination may have in fact made it stronger. Where do we go from here? Hey, no cheating and picking up history books, wait for the next issue.

This was an enjoyable first issue, of a four issue mini. I was worried not having played the game yet that I would be too confused to enjoy the book. Although there are some obvious plot threads from the game, as this takes place after, this can be enjoyed as a self contained story too. Del Col does a nice job balancing that, and does a very nice job giving a ‘voice’ to Aya. As the storyline never lets up pace wise, there is little time to develop any characters beyond a minimal amount, yet Del Col still makes them feel real and alive. The interweaving of real events, huge events historically, with the world of Assassins Creed is handled well. The art, by PJ Kaiowa, is very nice. Very nice layouts and pace, very fluid yet detailed at the same time. Loved the Hitchcock-esque page of the assassination especially. Very nice work.

I would imagine that fans of the game will really enjoy this, adding to the story they already know of Aya and Bayek. For newbie’s like me, this was equally a fun read, even just read as a self contained story. I enjoyed the feeling that we are at the beginning of what would become the Templar/Assassin conflict as well.

Definitely left me wanting to see where this would go. Can’t wait.

**** 4/5

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