Assassin's Creed Uprising #5 Black Cross Annotations 

Isu Codices, Volume 2: Catching up with “Assassin’s Creed”

By | July 10th, 2017
Posted in Annotations | 3 Comments

Ever since the last installment, the latest game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise was announced. As such, some new information may reference what is known about the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

New Concepts

Eagle Vision

Assassin's Creed Reflections #4 Eagle Vision
Assassin’s Creed Reflections #4 Eagle Vision

In the last installment, we went over the fact that Isu genetics lead into the development of certain properties or potential powers in humanity. The most famous of these is known commonly as “Eagle Vision.”

While there are many different forms that have emerged throughout the ages (primarily shown through changes in gameplay), some have had more prominence. The most common traits include an ability to see friend from foe, an ability to identify targets and possibly even “mark” them for later knowledge, and in some cases, even a form of psychic retrocognition. Eventually, the Sight, as it is sometimes called, can be used to identify poisons in an intoxicated person, trail them, or any number of uses, in a variation called “Eagle Sense.”

One of the earliest forms is that of Bayek of Siwa, who could literally see through the eyes of his eagle companion, Senu, to scout ahead. The means of this connection are unknown, but the most likely reasoning would be the fact that, as someone who lived so long ago, his genes are infused with enough Isu DNA to enhance his vision to new heights. However, evidence suggests that not only the DNA but also the person and their culture can influence the kind of traits shown, from increased ability to find small traces of evidence for someone who would require detective and/or other tracking skills to a more spiritual person having the aforementioned psychic link.


Assassin's Creed Uprising #5 Animus
Assassin’s Creed Uprising #5 Animus

The Animus is a “recursor” device constructed in the spirit of memory storage Isu artifacts such as the “memory discs” used by some famous Assassins. This device, used through a variety of method that tends to revolve around lying down either in a chair or on a metallic surface of some sort, uses a form of neural plasticity to allow users to view the memories of their ancestors and even live through them. The franchise seems to use this device most often in order to locate ancient Isu devices in the modern era, especially those hidden so well that no other people could have even thought to look for them without this knowledge.

The Assassins and the Templars have access to different degrees of the Animus itself. Abstergo Industries, the modern face of the Templar Order, has expanded research to the point of being able to track even people unrelated to the person viewing the memories, and even have, by 2016, developed a form of the Animus that can have the user physically move, enhancing the experience itself. Assassins do not have access to this technology, and so still make use of forms of the seated Animus itself, especially the versions maintained and/or personally developed by Assassin Rebecca Crane.

Overuse of the Animus can cause a condition known as the “Bleeding Effect,” wherein memories or traits of the ancestors can “bleed” into the life of their descendant. Though this trait can be very good, allowing for a fast track of learning skills, it can also lead to insanity as memories crash into one another. In some cases, this insanity leads to the victim being rendered brain dead, but in at least one notable case, it led to homicidal mania. There are methods of solving the problems of the Bleeding effect that involve a process used in the game Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, but they are not relevant to this discussion.

Enemy of My Enemy

Assassin's Creed Uprising #5 Berg Conflict
Assassin’s Creed Uprising #5 Berg Conflict
Continued below

The idea of collaboration between the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order has been brought up several times throughout the franchise, and is especially apparent in moments of similar immediate goals. From Haythem Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton (pronounced “Ra-doon-ha-ge-doon”) a.k.a. “Connor” in 1778 to the Parisian old guard Templar rite and the Parisian Assassins during the early years of the French Revolution, the two sides have tried to work together to common goals. Unfortunately, as William Miles brought up in 2012, there are insurmountable “existential differences,” and a true alliance would not be so much a partnership as the submission of one side to the other.

Assassin's Creed Uprising #5 Enemy Of My Enemy
Assassin’s Creed Uprising #5 Enemy Of My Enemy

That said, the rise of the true manipulator behind both factions, Juno, to the fore may allow for a true collaboration between both sides, even if only momentarily once more. Both sides have valid points against the other’s methods, after all, and a true dialogue between the opposing factions could allow for a more moderate neutral ground, even if just for a single generation. The Templars view the Assassins as little more than anarchists who seek to kill certain people and hope for the best, which truthfully isn’t exactly wrong. On the other hand, the Assassins view the Templars as authoritarian dictators who revel in fascism, which isn’t entirely true, either.

However, due to the decaying moral framework of both sides, to the point of focusing entirely on each others’ puppets rather than society at large, neither seem to be adequately prepared for the rise of the Instruments of the First Will, who are a very dangerous threat to them both.

Progress vs. Control

Assassin's Creed Uprising #5 Progress Control
Assassin’s Creed Uprising #5 Progress Control

The sides in the Assassin-Templar War seem to be entirely on a case-by-case basis, but on the whole, the idea seems to be that the Assassins want humankind to be able to have the freedom of choice in what they do without descending into violent anarchy, whereas the Templars want a more controlled form of development for society, but development nonetheless.

The fact of their not-so-different perspectives can be seen most clearly during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. The Assassin Council in Paris worked closely with the monarchy, even having political representation for their Mentor, the highest member, undercover. The Assassins were the ones supporting the monarchy, which would most often be assumed to be the role of the Templars in the name of order and control. On the other hand, a rebellious faction in the Templar rite brought about the French Revolution itself, in the name of scaring people with unrestrained chaos so that they would welcome authoritarian order into their lives to avoid the death that came as a result. While these two sides ultimately supported their more common ideologies of freedom to choose versus structured development, the means were very much in line with each other’s common modus operandi.

On the other hand, we have the Instruments of the First Will. While the Templars would hate too much fascism and the unrelenting restrictions it imposes, which prevent any actual progress whatsoever, the Instruments opt to surrender all human progress and achievement in the name of security and stability, relegating the entire species to be nothing more than livestock for Juno and presumably her Sages.

Both the Assassins and the Templars have the possibility to be good or not, with examples of both throughout the ages, but the sheer scope and mission of the Instruments of the First Will prevent any possibility of them having the same benefit of the doubt, given their abhorrence of human progress and desire for its annihilation.

New Issues
Assassin’s Creed: Reflections #4

Assassin's Creed Reflections #4 Opening
Assassin’s Creed Reflections #4 Opening
Continued below

In looking into the memories of Ratonhnhaké:ton and his daughter, Io:nhiòte, Juhani Otso Berg seems to be focusing in on the former’s connections to family, and how they inspired his actions. In a sense, Ratonhnhaké:ton is not so different from Otso Berg himself in this respect, as the Master Templar originally joined the Templar Inner Circle in order to get the very expensive medicine for cystic fibrosis on behalf of his infirmed young daughter, Elina. However, Otso Berg seems more connected to his job than his daughter in more recent work, though he does still love her very much.

Ratonhnhaké:ton appears to have a similar attitude toward progress as the Levantine Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries AD, seeking not to keep his daughter from harm, but rather favoring her over her older brothers for a specific trait she had inherited from her father: Eagle Vision, also known as “the gift.”

Io:nhiòte’s specific form of the Sight seems to be identical to that of Bayek of Siwa (see above), lending credence to the possibility that the manifestation of Isu abilities is not solely linked to genetics, but also relies partially upon heritage. In fact, even outside of Eagle Vision, Ratonhnhaké:ton showed the capability to learn a variety of seemingly supernatural skills through his Isu genetics and his Native American heritage, as shown in the alternate timeline witnessed in his game’s Tyranny of King Washington downloadable content. Are variations such as Io:nhiòte and Bayek’s Eagle Vision to become more common in the franchise moving forward? It would definitely make for a new spin on how the franchise operates.

Assassin’s Creed: Uprising #5
Guernica Moneo’s conversation with Charlotte de la Cruz hit a soft point in her perspective, for sure. As shown in this series especially, she has wanted to avoid killing, even though every instinct in her body has been gearing her toward it as she delves deeper and deeper into the world of the Assassins. His remark that she feels that she is somehow better because she wasn’t the one to torture him seems to put her off guard, making it too hard for her to interrogate him through her apparent “good cop” methods that she seemed to be on the verge of trying out.

My’shell Lamarr’s reunion with the Assassins is, as is to be expected, not exactly joyous. Having saved Otso Berg’s life after Indian Assassin-turned-Instrument Jasdip Dhami threw him out of a window, she can’t do much to dissuade neither his apparent archenemy Galina Voronina nor Arend Schut Cunningham, the husband of a man he injured, from assailing him. Luckily, the quick talking of Charlotte, who knows they need to talk to a Templar rather than literally calling them on the phone (as Arend, amusingly, actually did), stopped further violence.

In the conversation at a diner, Berg mentions the Isu by name. Admittedly, this is actually an error, but it is still explainable in that he could have spoken with Violet, who could have learned the term from Juno and blamed it on some records that also had the name. It’s not as if Abstergo is lacking for genetic material.

That said, the entire conversation seems to go rather well. The Assassins learn about Jasdip being the super-Assassin, My’shell learns about Guernica is one of the Instruments, and a variety of other facts are exchanged. One particularly interesting piece is that while the Assassins (very justifiably) don’t trust the Master Templar with information, he knows that he can trust the predictability of how he can’t trust them, as, unlike his people in the Templars, he actually can trust their reactions, which is really all he can rely upon.

As a side note, we finally learn the name of that Assassin-esque armor, “GM spider silk body armor.” Assuming “GM” means “genetically modified,” this armor would be very tough indeed, and could reasonably be assumed to be capable of withstanding the point-blank gunshot Jasdip suffered.

Charlotte’s analysis of the entire conflict (listed above under the “Progress and Control” section) is rather interesting and paints the two sides as fundamentally not actually evil at all. Still, her analysis of Juno’s reasoning seems to be a tiny bit off. While she did decide to follow through on her campaign of control after Saturn’s murder, Juno’s words beforehand seemed to indicate that she already wanted the entire species exterminated for mimicking the Isu, as if they were a slight of some sort. As such, it’s rather hard to sympathize with her at all, and the entire idea of Saturn’s murder being the catalyst seems to be more of an excuse than a genuine reason.

Continued below

Assassin's Creed Uprising #5 My'shell Guernica
Assassin’s Creed Uprising #5 My’shell Guernica

My’shell, though not fully trusted by the Assassins after Guernica, her fellow Erudito member, turned out to be an Instrument, doesn’t seem to be interested in either side. Her final words after finding out about how Guernica wanted to have the totalitarian rule of Juno seem to indicate that she isn’t interested in either side. Will she leave the war altogether? Stay with one side? Die before anything really comes of it on account of her lack of conviction? Only time will tell.

While Berg’s anger when talking to Arend and Japanese Assassin Kiyoshi Takakura is somewhat well placed, it also is a bit off. While modern day Templars may not like fascism, the whole of World War II seems to have been a plot amongst Templar puppets to instate the New World Order, and part of that actually relied upon fascism. Stating that they hate the entire thing on principle is a bit overreaching, even if they don’t believe in it any longer. If nothing else, the ideas of walled up nationalism and personality cults don’t really seem to fit with Abstergo Industries’ modern processes anyway.

Still, the most interesting part of their conversation is the fact that the Assassins, not the Templar, are the ones who are acting overly self-righteous. Yes, they have a point about how the Templars seem to be the ones in high positions of power, but it’s not as if their methods of “kill the leaders, then slink back into the shadows and let things run themselves” is really getting them into power themselves. In order to fix the system, sometimes you have to actually work in the system, which the Templars seem to realize a lot better than the Assassins, by and large.

As if to directly prove his point that they both want to help people, a photograph that Berg finds with the two Assassins shows Spanish Assassin Ignacio Cardona working side-by-side with the prior Templar Black Cross, Albert Bolden. Of course, this partnership probably did not last long, but whether or not either of them died in the process is not clear. Still, the sheer fact that Bolden is still alive that late proves a point that had been speculated as early as the first arc of “Assassin’s Creed: Templars,” that Bolden did not die on the rooftop when shot by Darius Gift in 1927’s Shanghai massacre, given the Spanish Civil War in which Cardona fought took place between 1936 and 1939.

How long will these partnerships last? Subsequent issues of “Assassin’s Creed: Uprising” will show us, as “Assassin’s Creed: Reflections” has come to a close. The next known series is a miniseries of “Assassin’s Creed: Origins,” likely to have its four issues begin coming in October coinciding with the release of the game itself.

//TAGS | Isu Codices

Gregory Ellner

Greg Ellner hails from New York City. He can be found on Twitter as @GregoryEllner or over on his Tumblr.


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