The Assassin's Creed Comic Has Got Me Wondering...

Maybe the assassins are the bad guys?

I've played the Assassin's Creed games as thoroughly as I scrape the bottom of a bowl of vanilla pudding. I'm up on the lore, I've unlocked hidden movies and I'm waiting for more information about how Marco Polo was involved in the generations-spanning conflict between the brotherhood of assassins and the Knights Templar. But not until reading the new Assassin's Creed comic today did I give serious thought that maybe the good guys are the bad guys.

Perhaps I'm too trusting. Perhaps I should have considered that an organized group of killers who murdered great people around the world for centuries might not be the good guys.

The new Assassin's Creed comic, called Assassin's Creed: The Fall, briefly nods at the idea that our heroes are really our villains, a new twist to a new branch of Ubisoft's hit franchise. The comic, like the games, oscillates between a tale set in modern times (Philadelphia, 1999) and a rich period of the past (Russia, 1888). The former stars a seemingly normal man who is down on his luck and unsure of what he is seeing visions that make him feel like he's a Russian assassin. The Russian assassin wears a white robe, stabs with skill and leaps gracefully like Altair and Ezio, heroes of the Assassin's Creed video games.

For the main scene of the first issue, Nikolai receives orders to kill Tsar Alexander III, whose father was assassinated by the brotherhood for which Nikolai now works. But who is giving the orders and why does Alexander III seem somewhat reasonable when he confronts a hesitant Nikolai?

The comic is the first issue of a three-issue mini-series, so questions are raised, not answered.

I'm not sure how much new lore we're going to get, and if this will amount to anything more than Assassin's Creed In The Snow. But so far, so solid. The comic is an official Ubisoft production. Former AC franchise mastermind Patrice Desilets is thanked in the inside front cover. The lead writer-artists, Camerson Stewart and Karl Kerschl are better-known and seemingly simply better at illustrating than writing, but they do a fine job here.

In a spin-off, I want a story that "counts." This seems like it will. Comics cost $4 an issue these days, if you don't know, so beware that you'll be done reading this issue swiftly. Wait for the collection? At least read the preview and admire the lovely linework. The official preview is at the DC Comics website. The issue is in stores now.