Titan Comics 2016
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Dennis Calero
Lettered by Richard Starkings & Comicrafts Jimmy Betancourt
The Order of the Templars has sought the betterment of humanity for centuries, guiding it through wars and peace, famines and feasts. But corruption can weaken even the strongest of citadels, and for the Templars to maintain order, they need a paragon of justice, honor and fealty... They need the Black Cross…
So with the success of the main Assassin’s Creed title this for me was a no brainer. When I realized Fred was writing this I got excited, I mean have you been reading his other work lately HELLO. Then reading the story I found myself fascinated by what was transpiring. I had wanted to start at the beginning and see how the Templar’s were created but now i’m thrilled that we’re getting this as it is. There’s something inherently fascinating by putting the setting as 1927 London. It almost has this feel of what I saw in Downton Abbey.
If things are what they seem then the Black Cross is a character I look forward to learning more about. Also what better way for him to operate too. Dennis does this amazing job of bringing the club, the city and the clothes all to life in such a way that is pretty mesmerizing. Plus I love the use of panels to showcase what’s happening. Also the way the Black Cross takes his first victim has all the remnants of a horror movie and the kind of stuff that utilizes items found then and used in unique ways.
So I’m guessing we’ll see how the Black Cross goes about cleaning up the corruption of those in the order if this issue is any indication. I think that tactic in itself is hugely attractive to me here. An order meant to guide, protect and lead ends up becoming what it fears the most so in order to get back on track a cleansing has to take place. So hopefully as this continues we’ll see more of what they are meant to be and if they can back to that or if the kids in the main series are facing the result of that not happening as planned.
I like how things go this issue as the ramifications of the actions that open this issue play out. While I am getting something of a Shadow vibe from a few aspects there’s this whole mystery man feel permeating the whole book. From a mysterious mission undertaken without knowing exactly what he’s doing Darius has become this immensely attractive character to me. Not only because he’s classic tall, dark and handsome--think classic Hollywood good looks but because of how he finds himself now.
The mix of characters whose motives seem shadowy will be revealed in the course of the story but for now it’s got all the hallmarks of a great mystery thriller. There’s plenty of action, intrigue and mystery here to grab our attention and draw us in then to keep us coming back to see what happens next. Of course Fred’s characterization is so sharp and on point that these characters feel like they’ve stepped out of time.
I’m not a video game guy but this is the kind of historical fiction that grabs my attention and doesn’t let go. More so when it’s done on a level such as this.