I love when a new series takes everything that was good in a first issue and improves on it going forward. Assassin’s Creed: Templars #2 succeeds at making a good thing better with strong storytelling and striking images. Continuing where the last issue left off, the young newcomer to the Templar Order, Darius Gift has been sent to Shanghai to make a delivery: A box that is kind of like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Last issue it was stolen from his possession by a beautiful female stranger. In this issue he runs into the shadowy agent of the Templars known as the Black Cross. The two join forces to find the box and uncover the source of the betrayal among the Templar Order.
The two characters are total opposites and they play off of each other well. Darrius is as awkward as ever in the cutthroat world of assassination. He’s still a fish out of water. The Black Cross is still a mysterious avenger. We still don’t learn a lot more about him but his actions in the book made me a fan. Black Cross is similar to Zorro or Rorschach. He speaks very little and is very violent against those who he believes have it coming. What makes Black Cross different from these vigilantes is his blind loyalty to the Templar Order.
We meet many of the members of the Shanghai rite of the Templars. These scenes were filled with political jargon that might be hard to falling or even boring if you’re not interested in learning background info. I feel like it serves the story because I’m a fan of the conspiracy aspect of Assassin’s Creed. Luckily these slower scenes are few and far between. The buildup is paced strategically, leading to an exciting cliffhanger that left me drooling for more. Let’s just say things go from bad to horrible.
The beautiful artwork of Dennis Calero is even more successful at setting the moody spirit of the Assassin’s Creed universe. His coloring causes characters to pop out and background scenery to fade like they’re all part of a memory. Echoes of The Dark Knight Rises are seen in the pages featuring the Black Cross. There’s an overall strong balance of light and darkness on each page. It gives a haunting feeling throughout the book.
Overall Assassin’s Creed: Templar #2 stands on its own rather than because it’s part of franchise. The complex writing and stunning artwork make this book rise above other video game tie-ins. My one hope as a fan of the Assassin’s Creed games is that Black Cross might make an appearance in a future title. His presence throughout this issue made me a huge fan and I can’t wait to see what he does next!
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Assassin’s Creed: Templar #2 Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Dennis Calero Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/27/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital