Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Assassin's Creed: The Fall (2011)

Authors: Cameron Stewart / Karl Kerschl  |  Illustrators: Cameron Stewart / Karl Kerschl  |  Page Count: 96 / 128 (Deluxe)

"Nothing is true, everything is permitted…"

Considering how asinine and clusterfucky the story of the AC games was, is and likely will become, I didn't have high hopes for The Fall. Shock news: It’s surprisingly good. It's not amazing but it does a better job at balancing two different time periods and making them feel like one cohesive whole than any of the games I've played so far have managed to do.*

You ought to know by now that each instalment has two protagonists; one in the present and one in the past. In the present (sometime around the turn of the 21st Century) there’s Daniel Cross. The book spends a fair amount of time showing us what kind of guy Daniel is and, perhaps more importantly, what kind of guy he isn't. He’s not a noble champion of the people. He’s quick to anger and full of doubts, dislikes authority, enjoys a drink and is slowly spiralling out of control.

By contrast his ancestor, a Russian born assassin named Nikolai Orelov, is selfless, honourable and fully committed to a cause greater than himself. His goal is that of all his Order: to stop the Templars from creating a new Eden structured solely to service them. (If you think about it, there are zealots on both sides.)

There are similarities between game and comic, such as the obligatory artefact that, like Desmond’s Apple, is of great importance but easily forgettable. However, by being self-contained the book doesn't have to drag out the modern day part of the story ad nauseam. It has a proper beginning / middle / end.

Okay, there’s a sequel, so you could argue that the 'end' is merely a stop gap, but you don’t have to read the sequel if you don’t want to. In short, it doesn't tease you with something and then fail to deliver it like the games do.

The artwork serves the story well. Panels aren't just rigid squares, there’s some thought put into them, including splash panels and pages when needed.

The Deluxe Edition has some extras including a 10-page epilogue that diminishes the power of the original ending and leads into AC: The Chain (2012). If you've more money than sense, both The Fall and The Chain were collected together in AC: Subject Four, a TPB that was part of The Ubiworkshop Edition of AC III (2012).

2½ things that 'used to be' out of 5

*You can read reviews of some of the games on our sister site, Nut Load.

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