15th May2018

‘Assassin’s Creed Origins #3′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

AC-Origins-3-Cover-A

Still on the fence a little with this book so far. Sure, the writing and artwork are not bad, pretty good in fact, but so far I am not really seeing a story that had to be told. Once we get over the novelty of seeing real historical personalities interacting with our fictional heroes Aya and Bayek, there’s so far not been a whole lot more. Although the Assassin’s Creed Origins game firmly linked Aya and Bayek’s story to the forming of a proto-Assassins Brotherhood, the Hidden Ones, to fight the proto-Templar Order of the Ancients, two issues in this has not really been a factor yet, other than a brief reference here or there.

One aspect I have enjoyed is Aya herself. Full of zeal and enthusiasm, and certainly a degree of ability, she is still prone to both errors of judgement and of picking the right fights. This gives her a very human quality, which I like. No more have these faults been more apparent than her alliance with Brutus and Cassius to assassinate Caesar. Assassinate him she did, but far from the citizens from Rome welcoming this action, Rome has been plunged into anarchy and Cassius and Brutus are now wanted men, rather than assuming the reins of power. Aya has found herself a prisoner of Mark Anthony, an ally of Caesar now attempting to seize power for himself.

After an interlude with Cleopatra that has been threaded through every issue, events that take place in the future, we catch up with Aya languishing in a cell. Mark Anthony tries to get her to reveal where Brutus is, so he can be punished for Caesar’s death, and she will be released. Aya declines, though she does have her doubts about Brutus. Did he know the storm that would follow? So, Aya prepares to be taken off to the arena to fight in the gladiatorial battles. Nope, that’s not going to happen, as she’s thrown into a river instead. Hands tied, do they expect her to drown? No again, they want to see her ripped apart by,er, hippo’s. Yep. Never thought I’d review a book where death by hippo was a thing.

In a dramatic several page sequence, which felt a tad too long and lacking the large panels it needed to really convey such a powerful animal, Aya manages to fight and defeat the hippo’s. Well, she needs a little help with the last one, but luckily Brutus and Cassius have come to her rescue. Maybe they are not so bad after all. They engineer Aya’s rescue, travelling through subterranean passages to finally come out above ground. Probably being greeted by a smiling Mark Anthony was not top of their list of things to see though.

Another fair issue, but with a paper thin plot really stretched out as far as it could be. The entire issue was essentially Aya escapes Mark Anthony and is then captured again by him. The most interesting aspect of the whole issue was the Cleopatra subplot at the beginning. Del Col is a good writer, but there is just not enough content here to make a satisfying read. Overall the art by PJ Kaiowa is pretty good, notably with pacing out a minimal script, but some panel choices seem wrong and I wasn’t as impressed by the hippo set piece fight as I was clearly meant to be.

For me, still, there is not enough here to really tell a really fulfilling story. The characters and setting are ripe for such a story, but the execution has not been there. Hopefully next issue, the last, can take this series out with a bang. It needs it.

*** 3/5

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