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The Ankh of Isis Trilogy

The Ankh of Isis Trilogy by Eric Corbeyran, Assassins Creed comic 1-3

Abstergo wants Desmond Miles and they'll stop at nothing to get him - kidnapping and murdering without hesitation - but betrayal closer to hims lands a far greater blow for the deadly Templars.

In a race against time Desmon uses the Animus to delve into the lives of two Assassins from Roman times - the shadowy Aquilus and the barbarian Accipiter - un a desperate search for a weapon to destroy Abstergo. 

Can their memories help Desmond to discover the ancient artefact of unusual power?

Who is the mysterious Jonathan Hawk?

And who, is anyone, can Desmond trust?

I think if you mention Assassin's Creed most people the majority of them must have one time or another have heard of it, it's currently one of the most popular gaming franchises out there and based on the video games several full length books have already been written, covering the parts from Assassins Creed II and III so far. The Ankh of Isis trilogy is the first tie-in comic series to this popular game franchise and combines the three comics: Desmond, Aquilus and Accipiter. I have heard a lot of positive new of the video games, talking about it with my brother on several occasions and read the first book in the series but to be honest I only ever touched the game quite briefly. So this review will solely be based on how I experienced the comic, I won't link it to the books or to the game itself since there are bound to be differences among them, I think you should judge each of these different additions to the franchise by themselves. But lets start with the first comic.

Assassins Creed 1: Desmond
As the name might implies, this first comic focuses on Desmond, I knew most of his story and seems that this comic introduces a different take on the original part of what the first videogame introduced but that to the side. The story kicks of with subject 16 missing from the St. Erembert Psychiatric hospital, soon after these events you are readily thrown into the past and start following the footsteps of Aquilus, a Roman and assassin, this is all followed by events surrounding Desmond, he is hooked into the Animus, a machine that allows his to access the genetic memories of his forefathers, how cool is that! I know if you know the games you are bound to know this but still its pretty cool. The people who are in control of the Animus, Abstergo, are discussing how to continue with Desmond since he seems to have some problems with a few things... The start of this trilogy start of with multiple storylines both taking place in the past and present all surrounding around Desmond. Like I said, Abstergo was discussing Desmonds part in all of it, more for the worse of Desmond himself, so this is really just the starting point of it all as Desmond now tries to flee from Abstergo in fear of his own life and that of Lucy. There are a few questions raised in this first volume like what is the role of Desmond exactly why is he so important and another one is WHAT is Abstergo after exactly?

Assassins Creed 2: Aquilus
The second comic kicks off with a scene in the middle of the desert with the mentionings of eagles and vultures and first I thought well this is just something to add flavor but was I in for a surprise as you see the links nicely translate from the past into the present time. Where the first part took place mostly in the present time, this second addition takes place for the most time in the past, or at least sets the storyline straight for the last part of the comic. Desmond takes over the persona of his forefather Aquilus and is presented with one powerful artefact. I liked how this artefact was added to the storyline and how many other parties were trying to get there hands on it, both in the past and also in the present, I now know where Abstergo is after. Even though Aquilus is an assassins it does seem to be that he isn't the all powerful... and if that isn't enough, Desmond is hooked in on the Animus in a moving van... while being chased by hitmans of Abstergo. I am starting to like the direction that the story is going to!

Assassins Creed 3: Accipiter
Ok so far in parts 1 and 2 we have seen the present time focusing on Desmond and introducing us to the world of the Assassins Creed comic and the past with Desmonds forefather Aquilus revealing an powerful artefact that a lot of parties want to get their hands on. Accipiter introduces us to a new character Jonathan Hawk who is able to use the Animus to gain control of Accipiter's memories. When I first read about Hawk I thought he would be a bad guy but it proved that he was part of a different cell and being Accipiter's descendant it seems that he is linked with Desmond and that they are both in for the same thing. This last comic really throws the story into a rapid, a lot of things start to happen around Aquilus and he might be in more than he bargained for and finds himself in several situation that his quick witted mind and fast reflexes can't safe him from. In the present time there are also several important story threads that collide and the best part of this volume in the comic series is that the ending of the comic ends with a promise of another addition: Assassins Creed 4: Hawk. I am curious as how this story will continue in the fourth volume, you get to see a picture but what it exactly means and where it exactly is remains elusive... I am sure that both Desmond and Lucy can use the help of this extra assassin to find what the picture shows.

This is roughly the summaries of the three different stories, but these few sentences about each volume doesn't justify it in the full means, each comic is about 40ish pages long and of course by themselves tell a lot more than I just did. But lets take a closer look at the comic itself. Throughout this review you can see a few pictures of in volume artwork and if you look at the videogame itself, it has always been one of the games that features some mighty fine graphics. The reason why you would want to read a comic to start from is of course the illustrations. Assassins Creed is violent and features a high speed all thoughtout everything and trying to capture that in a few illustrations can be difficult, earlier this year I read the Devil May Cry comic and found that it perfectly capture the games momentum in the various illustrations and I have to say that the comics of Assassins Creed do exactly the same. The illustrations neatly highlight everything that is being told. They really help to give the full meaning of the story. Several parts of the comics that I liked most is when you see the battles mainly with Aquilus or Accipiter in the lead. The image in the middle shows just what I mean with capturing the action spot on. We all know the images of the Assassin leaping of the roof, and letting his fall break by a knife plunged into his opponent. The way this is shown with irregular comic "boxes", speeding lines during the fall and all that surrounds it was done in a pretty cool way showing exactly what you want to see. Just take a look for yourself. But this is just one of many the third figure in this review is way more visceral with blood but this again capture the action nicely having a sharp focus on faces and things that are in action and blurring out the background. Futhermore the comic isn't just linear in jumping from box to box but it also uses full page illustrations that allow you to recapture your breath and thoughts, in one you see Aquilus peering over the desert and this somehow gives the feeling of serenity. All in all the illustrations that accompany the story are just spot on, it is of course quite different from what you might have seen from the videogames, but then again this is a comic. 

The Ankh of Isis trilogy is a great translation of the videogame into a comic series. Even though the story that is being told in the comic does steer away a bit from the videogame itself I think that the majority of the fans will find that it's just as cool to read. It shows something different. The story in itself is itneresting to read about and from the second comic, Aquilus, onwards the story starts to build up a nice pacing and the third comic, Accipiter, leaves this first trilogy on an interesting promise for the fourth volume, Hawk. As for the illustrations, spot on, they help bring the story to alive. From the dark and gritty moments of the story to the more moments of joy. A recommendation for fans and everyone who is looking for a action packed comic.

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