Review: Assassin’s Creed #1

Assassins_Creed_#1_CoverA (1) (1)From a personal perspective there is something absolutely alluring about the Assassin’s Creed Franchise.

As a recent graduate of conflict studies, social justice has always been a fervent interest of mine. These themes run deep in the Assassin’s Creed franchise which explores the conflict of the Assassin’s and Templars. A conflict centered on the dilemma of freedom versus control. I can trace my own ancestry to Maroon and Possibly Taino/Arawak origins in Jamaica. Playing Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, anchored my investment into the franchise in multiple ways. Exploring the digital recreation of my ancestral home country (Jamaica) was very meta and surreal. It cemented my empathy to the protagonists, and in a way made me feel a part of the universe (With Maroon and Taino assassins  to boot!). The notion of slavery explored in Black Flag  has striking parallels to the modern-day story, and the Assassin’s Creed franchise showcased this to great effect.

This is where and how the franchise exceeds and sets itself apart I find, they make strong connections not only between the quasi-fictional antiquity and modern world (in their narrative canon). But also between the fictional world itself and our world. “Synchronization / Synchronicity” never had so much broad meaning. This remains true in Assassin Creed #1 which introduces us to Charlotte De La Cruz, a passionate young woman disenchanted with world/government corruption, debt-slavery, and the 1%. Charlotte’s world is turned upside when her ancestral connections to the Salem Witch trials unfurls a fresh new battleground between the Assassins and the Templars.

What impressed me the most about Assassin’s Creed #1, is that it functions perfectly as a stand-alone introduction to the series, but still retains enough connective tissue to anchoring it to the rest of the Assassin’s Creed Universe. As such it is suitable both for curious new fans as well as established die-hards. Assassin’s Creed #1 clearly introduces the perennial conflict between the Assassins’ and Templars in a straightforward way, establishing the mythos. We are also treated to technological mementos from other series installments. We are re-introduced to Abstergo Entertainment’s helix device (from Assassin’s Creed Unity) we also see the Animus 2.0 from Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood. We even get a reference to Gavin the chief Assassin, also to the events of Assassin’s Creed the Fall (The first foray into comics for Assassin’s Creed) are mentioned

Cross-Media Integration/penetration is a special yet risky undertaking. We are seeing it pay off (albeit after 2 seasons) with the Agents of Shield TV series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was attempted (with mixed results) with Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. There was even the Post Season 7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic stories that garnered both acclaim and some criticism. It is not always the case that a well-known franchise can successfully tread new waters. (How is that Minority Report and Limitless TV series doing by the way?) If they can however, it can lead to a tremendous pay off, as well as shed new light on areas overlooked in the main Canon. I thought this was one of the main draws of Terminator SCC, which explored the industry and development Skynet, and added multiple factions to the canon. For this new Assassin’s Creed comic to be successful it will have to transcend the typical “villain/crisis of the week” plotting style common in many comics. It will also have to introduce elements that cement its importance in the franchise in addition to just being merely in that universe. Although it’s too early to definitely say where Assassin’s Creed #1 falls in this respect, I am of the opinion that they have set up the groundwork well with a very human and relatable protagonist, and a fresh new ecosystem within the franchise. I look forward to reading more.

Story: Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery Art: Neil Edwards
Story: 8 Art: 10 Overall 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review