Writers: Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery
Artist: Neil Edwards and Ivan Nunes
This is a great time to be an Assassin’s Creed fan. Ubisoft has released one of the best entries this year, there is a movie in the works and now we are being blessed with a comic.
This title brought forth by Anthony Del Col Conor McCreery, the gents behind the Kill Shakespeare series, are off to a good start in bringing in a new chapter to the Ubisoft series.
To recap the story so far, Charlotte de la Cruz has been playing around with Abstergo’s Helix as an assassin not knowing that there is a reason why she excels in it so well, as she is related to a long dead relative in The Brotherhood. She is given an opportunity to join and is soon ambushed by a group of Templars. She and the Assassins that recruited her narrowly escape and she is taken to their secret base. The purpose of her being recruited is that the Assassins believe that Charlotte can use the memories of Tom Stoddard, her ancestor to find an object that the Templars seek. Charlotte goes into the animus at a pivotal moment during the Salem Witch Trial and although she comes out a little worse for wear, she decides to push on and help her new team mates.
Regardless if it’s a game or in comic form, one of the things I always loved about Assassin’s Creed is how the series can take key points in history and make it a dangerous place to play for Templars and Assassins alike. Del Col and McCreery in the second issue, ups the ante for Stoddard. What I loved most about this issue is the fact that Charlotte, while reliving Stoddard’s memories sees that he is a jerk and in some situations she realizes that if she wants to go one way, Stoddard chooses to go another. But, to be fair he is a product of his time. For those familiar with the game, it’s akin to completing a mission but getting less than perfect because you didn’t complete an objective correctly.
We are also introduced to an Assassin by the name of Jennifer Querry who is on her first mission and who Stoddard regards as a novice. Their dynamic is like oil and water as the book progresses in which Stoddard beings to realize Querry’s measure towards the end of the chapter.
I really did enjoy the dialogue in this book even the conflict that Charlotte had with Stoddard’s methods. I don’t think I have seen that conflict since the one I had dealing with Conner in Assassins’ Creed III. There are issues that Charlotte has with Stoddard especially when it comes to helping people that really stand out. What was a tiny bit disconcerting (which takes nothing away from the book) is reading this story and not actually playing it, if that makes any sense because I found myself mentally yelling at the Stoddard to do things I would do in the game and maybe that is what makes it seem like at times Charlotte is more of a passenger in the story than the driver. Perhaps as well, it’s how it should be as sometimes deviations from the story and causing a bad butterfly effect will cause desynchronization and stops the memory from continuing. If nothing else, the pace of the story was good and the tension is well built; we find out from Querry that there is something behind disappearances of the women of Salem. The tension arises when Stoddard realizes that the townspeople are also being easily manipulated by the Templars in Salem. Worse is that the Templars are secretly manipulating the Assassins to do their dirty work for them and will stop at nothing to get the object that they seek. Even the cliffhanger that we are left with as Stoddard having to face off with an angry mob is on point.
Neil Edwards’ and Ivan Nunes’ art improves this issue. The colors are moody and dramatic, they find ways to really depict characters, and there is one especially dramatic scene towards the end as the good Reverend Parris has a look of malevolence as he send his minions off. Right before that is a 3 panel scene as Stoddard breaks into a building and yes, he knows how to make an entrance! Otherwise, I am mostly pleased at how the art meshes well with the story.
If you are a fan of the games and still working your way through Syndicate, this is a good way to take a break in between the game. It’s also a good time period to explore as thus far in the game we have only seen Connor’s story in North America and despite that story not being overly exciting, the game showed what could be done with Colonial America. This title thus far is worth picking up and I can’t wait for the next issue.
4 Hidden Blades out of 5