Graphic Novel Review: Assassin’s Creed: Desmond, Aquilus and Accipiter

08:53 22 November 2012

Assassin

Assassin's Creed I: Desmond

Archant

(Titan Books, £8.99 each)

THE tendency of modern computer games to adopt an almost cinematic storytelling approach - albeit over a much longer period of time and with protracted periods of gameplay in between the cut-scenes - means they should lend themselves well to the graphic novel format.

This three volume introduction to the Assassin’s Creed saga uses the first game as a springboard, but doesn’t follow the confines of the game verbatim and has enough creative breathing space to forge its own identity.

The concept is a fusion of sci-fi technology with historical intrigue, as barman Desmond Miles is kidnapped by the shady Abstergo Industries in order that they might rip the blood-steeped memories of his ancestors from his genetic code using the powerful Animus device.

Creating a subconscious link between Desmond and his past blood-line, Abstergo aim to plunder his predecessors’ knowledge of lost artefacts and forgotten secrets as part of a century-spanning conflict between themselves, as representatives of the Knights Templar, and the covert Assassin Brotherhood.

The Templars seek to create utopia through destruction and control, while their rivals in the Assassins strive to maintain free will, a battle which has cost untold lives over the generations.

After catapulting Desmond’s mind back into the past, where he is linked to the Roman Aquilus, Abstergo hope to uncover the whereabouts of the mystical Ankh, but when he is freed from his captors by representatives from the Brotherhood, a fight for survival breaks out across the ages, with both sides suffering heavy losses.

This is only the beginning of Desmond’s involvement with his ancestors and their shadowy double lives as assassins, and just the first stop on a time-twisting journey along his blood-line…

Written and illustrated by acclaimed European comics legends Eric Corbeyran (Metamorphosis, Imago Mundi, Nalty) and Djillali Defali, the attention to detail and historical accuracy is impeccable throughout these beautifully crafted volumes, but never stands in the way of the explosive action sequences which have made the video game source material so popular.

These three books barely touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Assassin’s Creed saga (adapting the first game and some of the sequel, although there are noticeable differences between comics and games), and hopefully Desmond’s story will continue in future instalments by the same creative team.

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