By Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery and Neil Edwards
Assassin’s Creed: it seems like the amount of media that’s pouring out of Ubisoft for this series is remarkable. An entire multi-platform, multi-generational gaming system series, a possible movie in the works, and now comics? Is there anything Ubisoft can’t do? The answer is, yes; it’s make the plot restart with every single thing with an AC attached to it follow a structure that’s based on: “because they’re bad and we’re good because we say so” kind of thing. Trial by Fire #1 is basically the tutorial level to every Assassin’s Creed game you’ve ever played or heard about. Here’s the Templars (they’re bad), here’s the Brotherhood (they’re good) and here’s the animus; it lets you relive genetic memories or something blah blah blah science, plot device. It’s a cool premise, but it HEAVILY plays off the fact that people getting into this series probably know everything about Assassin’s Creed already, so if you’re a new reader to this with no prior experience you’re going to be totally lost.
Ms. De La Cruz? It was hard to care about her, it really was. She seems like a selfish, know it all, hot gamer girl who’s used to getting things handed to her and blames the 1% when she acts like a brat in a job interview. It’s really hard to believe that she’s going to be our, maybe, protagonist. This issue serves as the introduction to our heroine, but she lacks any real depth to care about if anything bad truly happens to her. The story jumps all over the place, seems far too fast paced to truly build any introductory level of depth to any character and just seems rushed. At one point our main character jumps out a window, blacks out and wakes up in a new location with no explanation at all about the fall, how she got where she is, why did she black out, anything. Just here you go, you’re awake in this new place, here’s this animus thing, let us jack you in after you ask 2 questions and badda boom, we’re off to Assassin’s Creed wonderland.
The art, it’s easy to be torn between main ground and background in this issue. The background art is BEAUTIFUL, dust, grunge, dingy fluorescent lights in an office, sunlight pouring through skylights in different coloured beams, simply gorgeous. Then there’s the characters…without being too harsh, seriously, what happened?! Faces are drastically different from panel to panel, it’s the equivalent of subbing in a stunt double for close-ups, it just doesn’t work. Action sequences seem like snapshots of the action with no real movement involved, and close-ups? How many close-ups and extreme close-ups do you need? The answer is apparently many.
This series could be one worth following, but many changes have to happen before that becomes a reality. First issues are meant to set tone and introduce us to characters and give a snippet into this world with the Templars, the Brotherhood and the animus. But all it really seems to be doing is another avenue that currently hasn’t been used to shove Assassin’s Creed at you.