I’m a giant gamer nerd who hates gaming tie-ins.
I find that anything that exists outside the canon of the actual game environment is generally of lesser quality, and usually feels like it’s easily ignored at next release. The writer who’s crafting the look and feel and lore of an interactive environment overshadows the people who are tasked with creating the tie-in novel, or comic book, as it’s never going to be as immersive as the actual game itself.
Assassin’s Creed #1 (Titan Comics)
Assassin’s Creed #1 takes all those preconceived notions I have and stabs them in the throat with a hidden dagger. This goddamned issue has it ALL, and is in some ways more fun and expansive than the latest games.
Background – the games? I’m not the biggest fan. I loved AC2, and have had fun with AC4 – Pirate Simulation Game, but the rest fall really flat for me. Also, the ongoing criticism that Ubisoft has been facing, where they put very white (or white looking) protagonists into their big releases, and people of color or women in the mobile or expansions rings pretty loud. Leaving female avatars out of multiplayer, because it was going to be “extra work” landed like a fart in a church where assassins were killing the Pope.
This comic though? This cuts through all the noise and gets us right into some great characters and a compelling storyline, set in a perfect location. Let’s synchronize:
Salem, MA. October. This guy’s facial hair. ALL HORRIFYING.
The issue starts out with a Wild West tease that, TONGUE IN CHEEK ALERT, ends up being our protagonist Charlotte, playing a video game. I see what you did there, comic book!
Plot wise, I’m hooked. Strong, socially conscious female protagonist taking it to the man, who has some bad ass assassins somewhere in her genetic past = yes please.
“Uh…we’ll call you?”
When Charlotte pulls a Robin Hood like deposit at her bank job, she draws the attention of two groups of people who have been monitoring her via her video game prowess: the Brotherhood and the Templars.
(Author’s Note – If anyone is monitoring me and my video game exploits, I’m ready Starfighter.)
These groups of course show up at the same time, and it leads to this amazing panel:
“Man my head is SPLITTING… Get it?”
The rest of the issue sets the stage of a typical AssCreed entry – Charlotte’s ancestor is an assassin in Salem during the Witch trials, and we can expect to see both that “white dude,” as she refers to him, and her own timeline quite a bit over the next four issues.
Is It Good?
Ayup! I honestly found this more fun than three out of the last four Creed games. Charlotte is a welcome break from “generic white dude from central casting” and her mutton chop-wearing Salem, MA ancestor looks like an axe throwing Wolverine; all of which I’m on board with.
This is a five issue mini-series, and while it seems to be to rely on some basic Assassin Creed knowledge, I think someone could pick it up cold and have a good run.