AssI’m a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, but I did have a falling out with the games after Assassin’s Creed 3. I was already unhappy with them after Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, but AC3 pushed me over the edge. One gameplay feature I loathed from AC3 was the sailing, so after learning that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was about piracy, and therefore, sailing, I passed on it. Then I heard it was one of the best games of the franchise. Who knew?
I still haven’t played Black Flag, but I have gotten back into the franchise with Unity and Syndicate. I’d read that the Assassin’s Creed Awakening comic series was a bit of a prequel to Black Flag. As such, I didn’t think much knowledge of the game was necessary other than knowing who Edward Kenway was and knowing he was the father of Haytham Kenway from AC3.
Well…I think I was wrong.
This first issue starts in the middle of things; in this case, it’s the middle of a battle at sea. Captain Kenway attacks one ship, and another ship attacks him in turn. It’s very haphazard and chaotic, and I get the sense that it wouldn’t jump around so much if I was more familiar with Kenway’s history and his crew. All I could essentially gather was that Kenway was frustrated with his crew, he became a pirate to get rich, and he ran into an Assassin after trying to save his ship from a fiery demise. Maybe that’s all I was supposed to get, but I couldn’t help but think I was missing some big clue from the games.
I’ve read a great number of Assassin’s Creed comics, and I never once imagined it as a manga. To my surprise, it works very well, although the art style isn’t one I love from the genre. It’s too scratchy, too black, and a bit too shonen-styled. Not all shonen manga is drawn the same, and there have been some amazing shonen comics with atypical art.
Now when the art is a close-up of profiles, it’s stunning. Kenway has never looked so good as he does in shonen manga. The only thing that is slightly odd about his design are the manga eyes, which make him look more like Edward Elric than Edward Kenway. It’s not a bad thing by any means, but it made me snicker a little as I imagined Edward Elric shooting someone in the head.
Even though the story is a bit all over the place, I can’t help but sense the potential Awakening has, especially with the Abstergo ties in present day. I may be confused, but I’m not going to write it off. I have a feeling that this issue was merely a setup for the rest of the story. Manga usually includes more of a hook at the end to get you coming back, far more than Western comics do, and this one didn’t have that. Regardless, my comic sense is tingling, and I’ll be back for next month’s chapter.
Our Rating: Yep
Author: Takashi Yano
Artist: Kenji Oiwa
Publisher: Titan Comics
Publish Date: 11/9/2016
Acquired via Publisher