This is shaping up to be a nice comeback year by the veteran Assassin’s Creed franchise, and the new comic series by writers Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery (via Titan Comics) is looking to add to that series resurgence. I can’t say enough about Charlotte de la Cruz, and I’m particularly happy that Ubisoft has started to focus more on the female sector of its universe. Charlotte is extremely likable, while also constantly frustrated at how powerless life can be at times. When the Brotherhood comes knocking, she can’t leap at the opportunity fast enough (that said, people trying to kill you will make you do a great deal of things in a hurry). Her gung-ho demeanor is aided by a wonderful heart for helping people, and she is immediately someone you want to root for. Del Col and McCreery allow for modern terminology in their dialogue, but it doesn’t seem to ever be reaching too hard for pop culture relevance. I appreciated the balance, and it makes the time switching less jarring, since her narration is constantly overlaying the action.
Charlotte's ancestor is active during the time of the Salem Witch Trials, though after the opening sequence, I would be eager to see a wild west Assassin at some point down the line (Tombstone-esque, with hidden blades and random collecting of tumbleweeds). The time of those trials is certainly interesting, and it's a time period that I haven't seen them tackle before.
On a side note, I did appreciate how the writers highlighted de-sync. Attempting to sway or manipulate your ancestor into doing something they either didn’t or wouldn’t do will cause the simulation to unravel. I’m sure they addressed this plot point in previous games, but Desmond’s whole present day plot-line was a bit on the dry and convoluted side, so I probably just blocked that whole part out of my mind. This is the first time in the series that I have enjoyed the present day goings-on as much as time in the Animus.
I will say one thing about the present story. I’m getting a bit tired of the "traitor in our midst's" plot device lately. Maybe it is just the recent glut of such hooks in multiple movies, books, and comics that I’ve read over the past year, but it doesn’t get me invested as much as it used to, and when I see it I groan a little inside.
On the art front, Neil Edwards brings some strong line work to the first issue, along with some brutal action shots. His background work, specifically anything involving parts of the city, is excellent. It gives certain scenes, like the ones on pages 14 and 15, a certain extra gravitas. My only complaint would be that the facial features of Charlotte herself seem to be a bit inconsistent between pages. At times it was hard to get a bead on the official look of the character. For example, if you take pages 8, 11, 13, and 19, all would contain slightly different renditions of the character. It was almost as if someone else drew her for that single panel. Everything else looks consistent, and the art overall is good, it’s just something that caught my eye, and hopefully will get ironed out with time.
Overall I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed #1 quite a lot, and look forward to getting more time in Charlotte’s world.
Assassin’s Creed #1 is in stores now from Titan Comics.