Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Anthony Del Col, Nancy Drew
Art: PJ Kalowa
Go back to where it all began, in this brand-new series spinning out of the smash-hit new Assassin’s Creed game. Witness the birth of the creed, from the mother of all Assassins!
The penultimate issue of the Origins comic miniseries, Assassin’s Creed Origins #3 is another solid entry, but one which fails to break new ground. After the previous issue ended with Aya parting ways with the Romans and dedicating herself to helping the people of Rome rebuild after Caesar, #3 makes the unfortunate decision of beginning with Aya already captured by the sinister Mark Antony, who makes it clear that he is on the hunt for Brutus and Cassius.
What follows is a standard torture trial issue, with Aya refusing to give up information on her former colleagues and being subjected to a gladiator-like fight against gigantic hippopotamuses. Taking place in an cavernous underground pool, this action sequence features the same kinetic, well-choreographed action that this series has consistently demonstrated, and it certainly does get the adrenaline pumping. The unusual choice of hippos as adversaries also adds a bit of freshness to what is a fairly pedestrian action set-up.
When Aya is finally able to escape with the help of some familiar faces, the issue has little time to add much of any dialogue, let alone any with major narrative value. While the cliffhanger ending promises an exciting start to the forthcoming final issue, seeing our heroes cornered by Mark Antony makes it seem like they are not in a much different place than when this issue began.
This feeling of a wasted opportunity unfortunately diminishes the fun of issue #3. Having Aya be captured does not appear to have been necessary, and robbed us of a chance to see her in action throughout Rome. If the entire point of this issue was to reunite our heroes and have them cornered by the villains at the end, there exist many more interesting and original ways of getting us there. Not to mention that they would have probably allowed for more dialogue and exposition to set the stage for our finale.
As with the previous ones, this issue does contain a framing scene focused on Cleopatra and her son Caesarion set 14 years after the Rome plot line. This time we see Caesarion finally unleashing a brutal kill at his mother’s urging while Octavian’s men close in on the royals. It’s not much, but it is both more interesting than anything the Egyptian scenes have shown thus far and creates more intriguing questions than Aya’s situation in this issue.
With only one issue left, there is the distinct feeling that this miniseries is not aiming to be self-contained, but is instead primarily concerned with setting up Caesarion and his motivations as a future villain for the franchise. While that is a fine goal, the series has slipped by making Aya’s adventures in Rome smaller-scale with each issue. So far, there is no reason why she could not be out and about in the city squaring off against Mark Anthony while also getting the plot to the same place it ends here.
Still, a slip in quality and uniqueness from the such a great premiere issue means that Origins remains enjoyable even at this point, and could be vital to understanding the stories of upcoming games. Here’s hoping that the finale can help inject some of the thrill that is lacking here.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins #3 is now available from Titan Comics.