Assassin’s Creed Origins #4 – Comic Review

Since its beginning, this Assassin’s Creed Origins miniseries has teetered on the edge of greatness, its premiere issue almost flawless while the following two issues failed to match that promise. Luckily, this finale proves an exciting end to Aya’s journey that should please fans who have stuck with the series thus far.

Picking up where the previous issue ended, #4 begins with our protagonist Aya surrounded by Marc Anthony’s goons in 44 BCE and with Cleopatra and her son Caesarion surrounded by Octavian’s forces in 30 BCE. Aya’s predicament is resolved rather quickly (with some of the franchise’s signature gruesome violence), allowing the majority of the issue to focus on Cleopatra’s plight.

From the beginning of Origins, the Cleopatra scenes have felt tacked on to Aya’s story, giving the impression that they were included simply to set up Caesarion as a franchise villain down the line. This finale issue, however, flips that understanding on its head. As the issue abandons the Rome location to focus on Aya’s involvement with Cleopatra during the Octavian siege, it becomes clear that what was thought to be a framing device was actually the main story all along. Aya, now an Assassin wizened by experiences like the one in Rome, is here to confront her old friend, although perhaps not in the way that anyone expects.

Much of what transpires once Aya enters Cleopatra’s palace defies expectations, providing some nice twists before ending the series on a rather traditional note for an Assassin’s Creed plot. However, these twists work mostly because the 30 BCE story has never been foremost in the reader’s mind. What has been included in the past was so brief that turning it into the finale of the series feels like a cheat, failing to pay off the Roman intrigue and the consequences of Caesar’s death that were promised to be explored in the first issue. Instead, the 44 BCE plot seems pointless in hindsight, and robbing Aya of an essential solo adventure to match the story content Bayek has gotten.

The bringing together of our two plot lines means that this issue is much heavier on dialogue and lighter on action than the previous two. What action is present is less excitingly rendered than before, even if the brutality of the kills is much higher, making it clear that the issue is more concerned with wrapping up the Roman plot and getting back to Cleopatra.

Overall, the issue does a good job wrapping up the series and providing several intriguing twists. That it ends the series without fully taking advantage of the promise of the first issue detracts slightly from the overall experience, but fans of the game and the previous issues are encouraged to pick up this finale. One just hopes that the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey game will not prevent a sequel series to this one, as it is clear that Aya has so much potential that remains unexplored.

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