Fred Van Lente
Mar 23rd, 2016
All-new adventures from the world of Assassin’s Creed. In 1927 Darius Gift arrived in Shanghai on his first assignment for the Templar Order. A minor misstep means he soon finds himself mixed up in the shadowy underworld of the International Settlement, and mixed up with the mysterious, enigmatic, Black Cross...
I love the Assassin’s Creed video game series. I’ve enjoyed every single one that came out, including Rogue which puts you in the role of a Templar. So when I read that this series was coming out, I was pretty intrigued to see how the Templars would be presented in conjunction to how they come across in the game. To my dismay Fred Van Lente doesn’t seem really concerned with who or what the Templars are, other than they exist and this scary guy “The Black Cross” exists as a sort of in house police. Dennis Calero brings in some strong moody artwork here to give the feeling this is an older series, almost retro to the days of The Shadow, or The Spirit. Yet nothing really ever got me hooked into this story. The issue switches gears early on from The Black Cross to Darius Gift and his adventure in Shanghai as first mission with the Templars. It all goes wrong as Darius appears really oblivious to what the order stands for and he for some strange reasons feels the need to blab everything he can to a random woman at the first bar/dance club he enters. He gets tricked, loses his bag which he moronically left out in the open, and soon after is approached by what I can only guess are Templars in Shanghai, but that meeting also feels rushed and awkward as suddenly The Black Cross is taking these guys out as well. It’s all very jumbled and I hope the story gets a bit more concise and we have something or anything to like about Darius in issue 2.
The Hey!: Any AC is good AC! I’m interested in seeing what we will learn of Templar activity in Shanghai as it is a location that hasn’t really been used in any of the games.
The Eh!: So far the story isn’t that engaging, and feels a bit rushed. The pacing is off, and I’m not sure if we are supposed to get behind Darius, or even need to know more about Templars.
The What?!: There’s a lot of “big” panel moments, but the one that stands out to me is when Darius first gets off the boat and arrives at Shanghai. Calero’s artwork here is simply breathtaking.
Who should read this series?: Fans of Assassin's Creed obviously! Also if you enjoy period stories, and what I can assume will be a series of mysteries and adventures set in a very unfamiliar setting.
Why should you buy this book?: The book isn’t terrible, but it isn’t screaming to be picked up either. It’s a completely unique concept in the world of AC as “The Black Cross” hasn’t really been mentioned before. While I’m sure the dynamic of him and Darius will be interesting, I think a series just about a “Punisher” type character within the Templars would have been great on it’s own.