Titan Comics have been delving into the lore of the Assassin’s Creed world for well over a year now, gathering a few different series under their belts over this time. The Uprising comic series looks to take both the Templar and Brotherhood based comics, merging them into a fresh and exhilarating amalgamation, in order to reach the culmination of the long-standing Phoenix Project plot. Will they blend seamlessly, or go together like the proverbial chalk and cheese?
The Phoenix Project – the Templar’s plot to unlock secrets from the DNA of an ancient race – has been an apparent initiative of interest to those not only in the comics, but also the recent video games – Syndicate and Unity. The clock is ticking for the Brotherhood to prevent the Templars from achieving their ultimate mission, before humanity becomes enslaved to a new world order. Sounds intense eh?
Uprising doesn’t mess around, as the series kicks off with the Assassin’s comic titular character Charlotte de la Cruz throwing herself through a window to escape what appears to be a hellish battle with a rogue Assassin. It immediately engages the reader with the action, but also plants a few questions into your mind as to why an Assassin would turn on one of their own, and just re-affirms the notion that there could be a double agent amongst any of the organisations; which doesn’t bode well when everyone must band together to stop the Templars.
Speaking of the Templars, it turns out the aforementioned battle occurred in one of their previous locations on the Phoenix Project in a Hong Kong research lab. Juhani Otso Berg, a Master Templar, leads the investigation into the break in and subsequently returns under his Black Cross guise – a mantle used to keep the Templar ranks in check, through simple fear mongering or more lethal methods if necessary – to give the scene a once-over without prying eyes. I immediately noticed a strange likability factor about Otso, even more so with his analysis of the goings on proving very accurate and in-depth; almost like the Templar’s very own Dark Knight, especially given his awesome costume.
Meanwhile in London, the incredibly badass Master Assassin Galina is putting the newest trainee Assassin, My’Shell, through her paces, as a couple of parkour attempting locals watch on in awe of the action. True to form, she’s being overly tough to try and ready My’Shell for the ruthless world out there. Galina is joined here by fellow Assassins, Arend and Kyoshi, while they wait on news of Charlotte’s mission. It appears the Intel for the op was bad, and the rest of the cell, with the exception of techie Guernica, didn’t survive.
Despite being unfamiliar with many of the characters featured in Uprising #1, I never felt as if I was missing out too much by not reading the Templar comics. This is mainly due to the writers adding little intro boxes for each of the main characters, offering an outline on who they are, whilst their personalities are conveyed via dialogue to a decent standard to act as a re-introduction for newcomers.
My previous experience with the Assassin’s Creed comics has led me to expect having mixed response to the artwork presented, with blandness often counteracting any great illustrations. That’s all changed with the illustrator of Uprising, José Holder, as he delivers eye-catching backgrounds just as interesting as the characters themselves. Hong Kong stands out greatly; the busy streets and towering buildings add real life to the environment the action occurs within. Each character’s costume is exquisitely drawn, with even more detail in place on their physical features.
The launch issue of Assassin’s Creed: Uprising may follow the familiar theme of the Phoenix Project as well as characters seen before, but mashing them together brings a welcome freshness to all involved. There’s a great mixture of characters from different sides of the story, each with an agenda of their own and something tells me there are plenty of twists and turns ahead.
Issue #1 nails it in the artwork and provides a breath of fresh air to proceedings within the modern side of the Assassin’s Creed world. Don’t delay, give it a read yourself.