Indie Comics Review: ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA: FORGOTTEN MYTHS #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Alexander Freed
Artist: Martin Tunica
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Jimmy Betancourt
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Forgotten Myths #1: In this prequel to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok, follow Baldr, the valiant son of Odin, on his quest to forge a lasting peace among the realms.
Thor, Baldr, and Heimdall have discovered trouble lurking at Asgard’s borders once again. A mighty fire giant from Muspelheim is threatening the land of the Æsir. In the aftermath of the raging battle, Baldr discovers that the Muspels are now massing at the gates of Svartalfheim and begins a journey to bring peace to the realms.
In 2020, Dark Horse brought out Song of Glory, a prequel story to the videogame Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Now, just in time for the release of that game’s major expansion DLC Dawn of Ragnorok, Dark Horse is bringing us another prequel miniseries Assassin’s Creed: Forgotten Myths. Like the expansion pack, this comic shifts the story’s focus away from the series’ protagonist Eivor to the mythical god Odin.
So, it appears that Eivor is not in the story at all. Or is she? The story begins with a framing device of a storyteller telling the main story to a group of assembled vikings. Present among these is a young child sitting alongside an older boy. Could this be a young Eivor and her brother Sigurd? Maybe this isn’t Eivor, but it would make a nice connection to the base game.
Although Odin is the protagonist of Dawn of Ragnorok, his son Baldr is the central character of this story. I haven’t played the DLC yet, but I understand that the story involves Odin having to rescue a captive Baldr. I am guessing that Forgotten Myths tells the story of how Baldr got into this situation, setting up the game’s story. Thus, I am guessing that reading this story before playing the game would be the ideal situation.
However, it probably isn’t essential to do so. Considering the game is out now, well before the final two issues of this miniseries will materialize. Also, many players probably won’t read the comics at all, and the developers will want the game’s story to be comprehensible to all players. So, if you’re itching to get playing, you don’t have to hold off until this miniseries is complete.
Also, this looks to be a compelling story so far, so it’s worth checking out, even if you don’t plan on playing the game. It’s not only aimed at those who play the game. And it doesn’t really touch on the deep Assassin’s Creed lore, so you can appreciate the story as a story from Norse mythology without knowing a thing about the ancient order of Assassin’s or the series of games based around them.
Now, I’m no expert on Norse mythology. Most of my knowledge of it comes from playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and the occasional Thor comic. So, I can’t know if this story is entirely original or an adaptation of a Norse myth. But from what little I know of the subject, it seems much in line with how the characters are generally played in Norse mythology. In short, this should be an enjoyable story for anyone with an interest in mythology, regardless of whether they are fans of the game or not.
For anyone who enjoyed Song of Glory, this book should familiar, as it features the same artist, Martin Tunica, as well as the same colorist, Michael Atiyeh. Even one of the original letters, Jimmy Betancourt has returned. So, this book very much looks like Song of Glory. This is evident just by looking at the covers of both series’ first issues. There is a wide disparity between comic book art and the cutting-edge graphics of a modern video game, but the artwork here is impressive in its own right. And the mythological characters are recognizable as their videogame counterparts.
While there are no drawbacks to this story for me, I can see that there are those to who this series might not appeal at first glance. There are those amongst the Assassin’s Creed fandom who do not like the newer games like Valhalla and Odyssey. Thus, they may not be inclined to check out a tie-in comic. However, I think if they gave the book a chance on its own merits, rather than as an Assassin’s Creed tie-in, they might find it quite enjoyable.
I haven’t started playing Dawn of Ragnarok yet, but Forgotten Myths #1 has got me eager to get into it. Alexander Freed has given us an enticing first taste of this story that has me eager to see the rest of the story. As a comic fan who has enjoyed playing several of the Assassin’s Creed games, I am thrilled when the story is expanded upon in the medium of comic books.