06th Jul2018

‘Assassin’s Creed Origins #4′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

Assassins_Creed_Origins_4-cover

This series so far has been…ok. Not bad in any way, in fact there have been a few nice moments, but it has never raised itself above a certain level. Partly I think this is because even though it is an Assassin’s Creed book, Assassin’s Creed Origins has very little of Assassin’s Creed about it, focusing as it does on the Hidden Ones and the Order of the Ancients, the forerunners of the Assassins and Templars. Speaking as an Assassin’s Creed fan, I have missed the mythology that runs through the stories, the Animus, Abstergo, there has at times just has not been enough to hold my attention. I will admit though that the historian in me has enjoyed the setting, and seeing real historical personalities drawn into the Creed world. That’s been fun.

Probably the biggest bright spot so far has been Del Col’s portrayal of Aya, which has been great. He’s really given her personality, putting flesh on the bones of the game character. She’s enthusiastic, skilled, but oh so fallible and prone to do the wrong thing as much as the right. She’s learning on the job, so to speak. Luckily she’s a fast learner, as last issue saw her captured, imprisoned, forced to fight bloodthirsty hippos (apparently that was a thing), escape, and then be captured by Mark Anthony. That would be the Mark Anthony who, seeing Julius Caesar now pushing up daisies, fancies his own chances as Rome’s new dictator. It never rains…

After another of the Cleopatra prologues which detail events 14 years later, and have been good reading, we catch up with a trapped Aya and Brutus, who decide to try and fight their way past Mark Anthony and his men. They do well, in a brutal and bloody battle, even to the point Aya pleads with Brutus to show mercy as he has the chance to kill Marc Anthony, for the sake of the Roman Republic. Aya and Brutus escape, and have a final heart to heart. Brutus will leave for Crete, where history records he continues the good fight until his death Aya will remain in Rome and establish a Hidden Ones bureau to fight tyranny there. This Aya did, changing her name to Amunet and fighting the increasing stranglehold of Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son, on Rome. Octavian took over Rome, and started looking further afield.

Remember those Cleopatra prologues every issue, which take place 14 years later. Now we come full circle. Cleopatra is under attack in Egypt by Octavian and his forces, who have reached her palace. The first in though is not Octavian, but Amunet (Aya), who knew Cleopatra from years before as fans of the game know. This is a much smarter Aya/Amunet, more worldly, and she begs Cleopatra to give up her struggle against Octavian, as she cannot win. Her vanity will destroy a nation. Cleopatra agrees, on the condition Amunet takes her son Caesarion with her, and trains him as a Hidden One. Amunet agrees and leaves with him. Cleopatra then surrenders to save Egypt, and poisons herself. Her story ends, but that of Amunet and Caesarion, as proto-Assassins, is just beginning.

Now that was more like it. I liked the way this played out, the clever mixing of historical fact and Assassin ‘fact’, the way the start of the story became the end of the story. Nice writing by Del Col, and nice to see Aya as she becomes, a fully formed Assassin. One or two plot threads left dangling, maybe intentionally, but enough was resolved to satisfy. PJ Kaiowa’s art throughout has been very nice, very fluid and dynamic. Several sequences have featured extended fight scenes, and the art has always delivered these brilliantly. A great wrap up.

I enjoyed this issue as much for what it promises in the future as to what it resolved now. At times Aya’s story has meandered, but where Del Col left her was in a very exciting place. The student becomes the master indeed.

Ultimately, a more than worthy entry in the Assassin’s Creed mythology, and worth another visit in the near future. Let’s hope Aya doesn’t remain a Hidden One for too long.

**** 4/5

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