Book Review: Assassin's Creed - 1: Desmond
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Titan Books
· Eric Corbeyran
· Djilalli Defali
by R.J. Carter
Published: December 5, 2012
Everywhere I turn these days, I seem to be running into more and more media about the videogame franchise Assassin's Creed. And for a guy who doesn't have time for videogames, the fact that even I'm noticing it means that there must really be a huge following for this series.
The latest thing to cross my desk from the videogame is a series of hardcover graphic novels out of Titan Books, the first of which we're reviewing here. Assassin's Creed 1: Desmond introduces the readers to Desmond Miles. He's been kidnapped by an agency known as Abstergo, run by the current generation of Templars, because he is descended from the Assassins line -- the historical enemy of the Templars. While he doesn't know his genealogy, Abstergo is more interested in his genetic memory, which can be accessed by placing Desmond in a device called the Animus, which allows him to relive the lives of his ancestors -- and reveal the Abstergo the hidden locations of lost artificats that passed through the hands of the Assassins.
That's the plan, at least. But the Assassins have plans of their own, knowing that the prize for whichever side wins is nothing less than global domination. Soon, a confused Desmond finds himself in their hands. He knows little more than ever -- but he knows enough that he wants to find out where he fits in the grand scheme of things. Because the Animus isn't just unlocking his history -- it's bringing forward all the past Assassins' abilities to him, making him a more formidable enemy with each use.
The story from writer Eric Corbeyran and artist Djilalli Defali is an intriguing one. I have no idea how closely -- if at all -- it follows the plots of the videogames, but the whole science-fiction machination of the machine that awakens genetic memory is a fun concept to play with. It takes a bit for the story to truly get moving, for the reader to get up to speed about what is actually going on. But once it does take off, it pulls the reader along, engaging them in battles both past and present.
My only quibbles with the product are with the presentation. The artwork sometimes becomes a little too angular (although in most places -- especially when Defali is given room for his pencils to play -- the results are quite extraordinary), and the placement of the word balloons sometimes requires the reader to revisit a panel to get the conversation in the right order. But overall, Assassin's Creed 1 - Desmond accomplishes just what it sets out to do -- launch an epic series of episodic hardcover graphic novels, successfully capitalizing on a popular videogame franchise.