The Assassin’s Creed video game series has covered many adventures, various time periods, and multiple engaging (some less than others) characters. The series has even branched into books and comics with varying success. Assassin’s Creed: Templars Volume 1: Black Cross is luckily one of the better tales in the collection and focuses on Templar characters instead of the Assassins for a change.
With the Templars and Assassins locked in conflict due to differing philosophies despite their similar goals to protect the world, who makes sure that the various players don’t abuse their power? In the Templar order, that person is known as Black Cross. The year is 1925. Shrouded in mystery and often considered a myth, Black Cross is sent to reign in a rogue Templar, but as usual things are more complicated than they appear.
This is a refreshing comic, and though the characters remain remote enough that readers may not become very attached to them, the intrigue and story are more than enough to keep the pages turning. Calero’s illustrations are a stylized realism that is a perfect match for the time period and subject matter. Black Cross himself is beautifully enigmatic, and is likely not who the reader expects, although there are plenty of hints early on in the book for the discerning reader.
This comic offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the Templar organization, which has for the most part remained an enigmatic and evil force in the Assassin’s Creed universe. Whether or not it humanizes them is for the reader to decide. Either way, this is a graphic novel that is a most welcome addition to the series.
Whitney Smyth received a Master’s in Book Publishing and Technical Writing at Portland State University, following a Bachelor’s in English at the University of Arizona. She took over ownership of Portland Book Review in December of 2014. She also works as a freelance editor and can be commissioned at Smyth Editorial Services and spends what little free time she has on her own writing. Coming from a family of readers she devours an average of one hundred books a year, in a variety of genres. Her favorite authors are far too numerous to list, but include Alexandre Dumas, Mary Shelley, Jim Butcher, and John Green.
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