Of all the things the Assassin’s Creed franchise is known for, its dull present-day levels are one of the more unfortunate mainstays. So it was quite a surprise when its latest comic book series’ first volume was completely set in 2017, with one of its Assassins trapped in an animus while unable to synchronise. With the release of its second volume, called Inflection Point (covering issues 4-7), Assassin’s Creed: Uprising finally delivers some of the historical action that fans crave, while also promising a series conclusion with major consequences for the franchise.
The first volume left off with Assassin Charlotte de la Cruz having finally escaped the Animus, where she had been stuck in loading area where someone had been scanning her memories. Right before desynchronising, she realises that the person scanning her is none other than Lady Juno (introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood), an ancient being who wishes to control all of humanity. From the outset of Inflection Point, the Assassin’s realise that they must team up with their mortal enemies the Templars in order to fight against this common enemy.
Charlotte and the Templar Juhani Osto Berg use the Animus to sync with their ancestors who were alive during the Spanish Revolution: the Assassin Ignacio Cardona and Templar Albert Bolden. Their hope is that doing so will allow them to find the location of the Koh-i-Noor, a powerful artefact sought by Lady Juno.
The Spanish Revolution portions only make up about half of this volume, but finally provide the standard Assassin’s Creed action which fans have come to expect. Despite a couple of double-crossings though, it remains a fairly standard plot, especially a decade into a franchise whose narratives thrive on stabbing friends in the back.
The irony here is that the rather pedestrian nature of the historical scenes highlights just how much more intriguing and important the modern-day narrative is. Forcing the Templars and Assassins into a position where they must partner up against a third faction is a major moment for the franchise, and continues its blurring of the lines between the “bad” guys and “good” ones. In this volume, not only are they fighting to learn the location of the Koh-i-Noor before Juno does, but both the modern-day Templars and the Assassins are dealing with undercover Juno operatives sewing discord in their ranks.
While it’s an interesting set-up and the mystical nature of Lady Juno brings fresh aspects, the present-day stories of this franchise remain less engaging than they could be since they must compete with the promise of the historical segments. After all, it is those segments set in the past that have brought fans back to the games and media time and again. Uprising tries mightily to overcome this, but when coupled with the underwhelming Spanish Revolution story, it remains less engaging than many fans would have hoped for.
In terms of presentation, though, Uprising continues to do well. It boasts well-written dialogue, and a cast of unique and decently-written characters. While its artwork lacks distinctive style (an unfortunate trend with tie-in comics), it is at least colourful and conveys the kinetic action and movement for which the franchise is known.
As this volume ends, we have our team en route to Spain to find the Koh-i-Noor, and the promise of a confrontation with Lady Juno. No matter the outcome, it is hard to imagine the Uprising narrative not having a major impact on the contemporary parts of Assassin’s Creed games going forward. While Uprising’s decision to focus on the present-day characters at the expense of historically-set ones does provide a unique take, it also means that fans will have to temper their expectations when it comes to this series. This is one for the completionists and dedicated fans of the franchise, and they will surely find plenty of valuable lore and world-building here. For all others, Uprising: Inflection Point will prove to be intermittently entertaining, although lacking much of what they probably picked an Assassin’s Creed comic up for in the first place.