ac-awakening-2-cover-a-oiwa-kenjiI’ve heard great things about the adventures of renowned pirate Edward Kenway, which lead to me being rather excited to take in a manga adaptation mini-series, Assassin’s Creed: Awakening featuring him. The initial issue from Titan Comics failed to live up to my expectations, but now the time has come to give the second part – of six in total – a read. Will issue #2 be more visually appealing and manage to develop the story more efficiently?

Last time out it was a real struggle to figure out what the hell was going on, due mainly to cluttered panels, massive speech bubbles, and both Japanese and English writing. We saw Edward being a brave and bold warrior of the sea, whilst a young chap named Masato was the one reliving these pirate memories via the Animus. For such a long comic, there wasn’t much going on to be honest and my disappointment couldn’t be hidden.ac_manga2_preview-1

The writers have changed tact, for in Assassin’s Creed: Awakening #2 the focus has firmly switched to Masato. There’s also a lot less intense action going on, thus meaning extra attention to the storytelling.

Masato is still oblivious to the fact that this ‘video game’ he’s beta testing, is absolutely not a game at all and, as we know, he’s actually living out the actions of an ancestor – Edward Kenway in this case. The Templars are simply using him, for a reason still unknown, and are making the most of the long standing mother issues possessed by Masato. It’s rather clear that he is bitter over his mother leaving him when he was younger, and all he thinks is that the ‘boring pirate simulation’ is the reason why she left.

ac_manga2_preview-2Did I mention his mother had a hand in creating the Animus? Well, she’s a pretty big deal according to the Abstergo (a front for the Templars) employees, who are portraying as rather shady characters. I’m interested to find out what information the Templars are after, and why his mother is yet to make an appearance.

Speaking of appearances, Mr Kenway only has a fleeting cameo sadly – when Masato eventually comes back for another bash as a beta tester – which literally consists of him arriving at a palace, before having a sword thrust upon his shoulder in a threatening act. I would’ve preferred to see more of Edward, but at least it did give me another reason to check out the following issue, just to get the low-down on the sword wielder.ac_manga2_preview-3

I’m really not convinced about various parts of the panels. Some of the dialogue bubbles make it clear who is talking, whereas others you have to make an educated guess. They are abnormally large too for what are often very few words being spoken. The art works can only be described as hit and miss; the environments are lacklustre and occasionally the characters are seemingly part-drawn, whereas other character depictions are so well done that you could grasp their specific emotion immediately – the slyness on their faces can be rather unnerving to see, to name a single example.

Although I’ve learned a tad more about Masato’s backstory, and there are questions that I’m eager to garner answers for, I can’t say Issue #2 of Assassin’s Creed: Awakening was an overly exciting comic to read and it was considerably shorter in length than the previous one. I came for exciting escapades of an extraordinary pirate and instead, I had to deal with a rebelling kid who’s angry at his mum.

All I can say is that the ending should lead to a lively opening for issue #3. However, my patience is wearing a little thin for the series to deliver a better balance of action and story development.

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