Assassin's Creed: Bloodstone Volume 2 - Review & Summary
Markuz, October 19th, 2019
Translated by: Markuz

Note: Non Spoiler Review, but a full Spoiler Summary follows

Assassin's Creed: Bloodstone – “Tome 2” is the direct sequel of the graphic novel that was released on March 29th, 2019, and which is – once again - currently only available in the French language. Keeping roughly the same team behind the production and release of volume 1 (writer Guillaume Dorison, illustrator Ennio Bufi, Colorist Andrea Meloni and Ubisoft’s French publisher “Les Deux Royaumes”), the graphic novel picks up where its first part left off, tying up the narrative produced in the Assassin’s Creed Conspiracies comics and its characters, bringing everything to an “epic conclusion”… or at least that’s what the back cover states.

Once again, the main historical setting revolves around the Vietnam war, as a much less cooperating Tomo Sakagawa, the protagonist of Bloodstone’s volume 1 (and of the finale of the Conspiracies comics) explores the genetic memories of Assassin, CIA operative and former member of the Bloodstone Unit Alekseï Gavrani in a race against time to find an Apple of Eden #4 before “””Assassin extremist””” (for lack of a better word) Natalie Chapman uses it for her genetic memory resurrection plans.

Tomo and his Hidden Blade
As it happened for Volume 1, the quality of the narrative produced by Guillaume Dorison transpires from every bit of the comic, from the very much grounded in history storyline, with several characters, locations and events strictly connected to the Vietnam war to the several connections to the Assassin’s Creed lore that the book has, all the while the graphic novel attempts to describe the troubles and tragedy of the Gorm family through time (and some other ancestors-descendants relationships which we’ll mention in the story recap).
As we mentioned in our review of part 1, Volume 2 also brings a good chunk of modern day conspiracies that go from several new mentions of Project Bluebird, a CIA project dedicated to psychological conditioning, to Agent QJ/WIN, one of the most concealed CIA secret operatives whose identity has never been officially confirmed. The comic also provides a lot of modern day action, with brainwashing, betrayal and lack of trust being the main themes and elements that constantly keep the story shifting before its ending.
Tomo, as the main modern day character, also goes through a path of his own, especially considering both volumes, from IT expert with no experience on the field to fully fledged (and Bleeding Effect influenced) Assassin.

As for the sci-fi themes of the franchise, Bloodstone #2, much like its first part, focuses on a very specific Piece of Eden and especially what the humans attempt to do with it. Such Piece of Eden is the same that appeared through both the Assassin’s Creed Conspiracies graphic novels and Bloodstone’s part 1, making it – and its utilization - another recurring element that links both series. Thus, don’t expect to see members of the First Civilization, cryptic messages and the likes in this comic, but rather to have a look at what humans might aim at doing, if they had such piece of technology and knowledge in their hands.

As for the artwork, the comic deals with a wider variety of colours, designs, environments and settings than its first part did. While volume one was mostly focused on cold blues and greens, volume two goes beyond that, not only representing the green of Vietnam and of the choppers and camouflage suits but also the red and yellow of sunsets, explosions and Vietnamese villages put to fire and the white and light blue tones of the Swiss Alps and of the sterile laboratories where the main characters go in their respective Animi. Thus, kudos to Ennio Bufi and Andrea Meloni for bringing to life such differentiated environments and characters. My only nitpick would be that I prefer more defined and less rough lines while reading comics… but that’s just personal taste.

In general, though, because of its themes and plot content, Bloodstone – Volume 2 is not a comic for every reader. It’s the culmination of the story of three graphic novels (Conspiracies – Part 1, Conspiracies – Part 2 and Bloodstone – Part 1) so new readers might have some issues tracking what’s happening, despite some nice attempts at recapping the status quo at its beginning. On the contrary, despite the few but major lore issues from Part 1 that are – to a degree - dealt with in this graphic novel, and a few new ones, fans might enjoy the comic for what it is, for the quality of its narrative and for how closely tied it is to its predecessor comics and to the extended universe of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Plus, it’s the Vietnam war, several fans have been asking about this setting for years, and despite this not being a full game dedicated to such conflict, it still manages to scratch that itch, especially considered how grounded it is in its historical context.

Bloodstone Volume 2 released in France on October 11th 2019, and is available online as well at all good bookstores. An English version is eventually expected, but we do not have any firm information on this at time of writing.


SPOILER TAG - Click here to unhide


NOVEMBER 12, 2017.
After surviving the attack by the Assassins sent by Hajime Shimada, Dr. Natalie Chapman reaches a cemetery and goes in front of a specific gravestone. She has decided she’s had enough of convincing the other Assassin cells and that she’s going to complete her father’s grand project.

She’s standing in front of Borish Pash’s tomb.



Hajime has investigated the scene in the Adlers’ house and has found out Tomo is still alive (although he lost sight from his right eye) and decides to “repatriate” him. In the meantime, Maxime Gorm and Elisa Adler escape the house with the Adlers’ hard drive. They try to reach Tomo’s car but they are attacked by one of Hajime’s Assassins. Maxime fights and kills him, then escapes with the car, along with Elisa. While in the car, Elisa receives a phone call by dr. Chapman. When she picks it up, she hears [“The raven is coming” – We thank our friend Maria for the help with the translation from Russian!] and that sentence acts as an impulse on her, prompting her to draw a gun, point it at Maxime and order him to drive towards the Swiss Alps because she wants “to go back home”.


NOVEMBER 15, 2017

As shown in the ending of Bloodstone – Part 1, Hajime takes control of Chapman’s base and puts Tomo in her Animus Omega. Hajime believes that Chapman is planning to have a so called ”Memory Resurrection”, that is replacing the mind of hosts with that of any Assassin from the past, but in order to do that, she needs to find out what Pash discovered during the Vietnam war. Thus, in order to stop her, Tomo has to go back in Alekseï Gavrani’s memories.


JULY 30, 1964

Seven American ships, disguised as South Vietnamese ones, are sailing in the Gulf of Tonkin. On one of them Alekseï Gavrani orders the sailors to attack the North Vietnamese troops in order to create a diversion for him to reach and infiltrate the island of Ho`n Mê. When he does, he kills several guards and then gets close to a village. Before he gets there, some soldiers are ordered to put the village on fire in order to destroy everything before “the Americans arrive”.
Alekseï kills them and then it is hinted that such was the village where the Bloodstone Unit was located, before evacuating it. Pash decided to leave inside the village only a member of the Unit, called Dhogura, to cover his escape.

The two fight, Alekseï emerging victorius after killing Dhogura with his Hidden Blade. In his last breath, Dhogura pleads Alekseï to take care of Zenia (the helicopter pilot and member of the Bloodstone Unit that appeared in part 1 of the graphic novel).


JULY 31, 1964 – MORNING

John J. Herrick, commander of the U.S.S. Maddox, and another sailor
are discussing what they really are doing in there. Herrick seems to be inclined to just keep doing what they are doing by following their orders, while the sailor seems to believe the Vietnamese aren’t the “barbaric communists” that the US government convinced everyone to be. Not wanting to be responsible for a new war, the sailor persuades Herrick to discuss the topic with Agent QJ/Win.

Agent QJ/Win (as mentioned in part 1 of the comic) is confirmed to be Alekseï, who is intent in looking at a map to try and understand where the remnants of the Bloodstone Unit have escaped. He decides to look for them in the mainland part of North Vietnam, despite Herrick’s worries about having an American infiltrating the area. Alekseï asserts his dominance, as he’s QJ/Win and he answers directly to William King Harvey, the Assassin associate / leader that he entrusted with the Apple obtained from the Kennedy Assassination in part 1 of the comic. Thus, Alekseï tells Herrick to follow his orders as Harvey will be there in four days and will expect some serious results.


AUGUST 2, 1964

Alekseï has finally tracked Pash and the remnants of the Bloodstone Unit. They are on two tiny boats, and they are following a canal that will lead them to the Red River. Pash is on one of the boats along with Zenia and a soldier named Doni. They decide to move towards a passage that goes through a mangrove forest as, apparently, they are escaping from Julia Gorm. As soon as they enter the passage, they run into an ambush as the second boat explodes. Doni goes on a rampage, shooting in the forest believing it to be Julia’s work, while Pash helps Zenia out of the river. Alekseï reveals to be behind the attack and immediately asks Pash to give him his Apple of Eden, but he states he doesn’t have it anymore. This is confirmed by Zenia, who states that they hid it and left in the island of Ho`n Mê. She also reveals to be pregnant, that Pash is the father and that she’s due to give birth very soon. Thus, she asks Alekseï to escort them to the Catholic diocese of Phat Diem in exchange for the location of the Apple of Eden.

"They controlled us with their Pieces
of Eden, depriving us of our potential"
Alekseï asks why Julia Gorm is hunting them and Pash explains that (after the experiments he did on her with his machine] she’s suffering a dissociative identity disorder, as she believes to be Eddie Gorm, her father, who had sworn to kill Pash during his life. The Bloodstone Unite had her “confined” while waiting to find a treatment for her, but Alekseï’s attack on Ho`n Mê allowed her to escape and to start her hunt for Pash.

While moving on foot through the forest, Alekseï’ and Pash discuss Pash’s plans and Julia. According to Pash, Julia believed in Pash and submitted herself voluntarily to his Bleeding Effect experiments on her as Pash’s and the Bloodstone Unit’s main objective was to give Humanity back her “true freedom”, which had been stolen by the Precursors.

According to Pash, the Precursors were more advanced than the humans and by controlling them with the Pieces of Eden, they deprived them of their potential. Thus, in order to be truly free, Pash believes that men need to “force such lock” and have access to the memories of all their ancestors. The First Civilization made it so that such thing could never happen, but Pash’s Project Bluebird could finally achieve such goal.

"In order to be truly free, men
need to force that lock"
The group of people decide to stop before the night comes and to settle down in a nearby shed. During the night Alekseï approaches Zenia, asking her why she decided to have a baby with Pash, as the two of them had a brief relationship in the past. The woman answers that she actually decided to have Pash’s baby because she was scared to die and so she had thought of a terrible plan.

Pash was overburdened with his failures with Julia Gorm, whom he loved as her own child. With Project Bluebird he tried to have her conscience “cohabit” with those of all her ancestors, but that made her go insane and eventually she inherited her father Eddie Gorm’s psychosis. By seeing that technically his project was successful in having the ancestors’ conscience appear in the descendant’s mind via the Bleeding Effect, Pash found out that he had basically found a way to prolong someone’s existence beyond their death. Thus Zenia’s plan was have Pash’s baby and to have her spirit / conscience being “reborn” into his/her mind. This causes Alekseï to react and tell her she lost her mind, but right after that Pash hits him, making him faint. Before fainting, though, Alekseï sees Julia’s outline in the forest, behind Zenia.


Hajime’s Assassins pause Tomo’s session in Alekseï’s memories because Maxime Gorm and Elisa Adler have been located in Gimmelwald, in the Swiss Alps. According to their research, dr. Chapman possesses a field of radio antennas in the same region. According to Hajime’s Assassins, Gorm and Adler are going to Chapman’s facility because they are amnesiac and because they want to deliver the Adlers’ hard drive to Chapman. Because of the risk involved, Hajime sends an entire unit of Assassins on the location, so that they are ready when Tomo is finished with his research in the Animus. Right in that moment, Tomo experiences the Bleeding Effect, screaming “Zenia, behind you!”. All of the surrounding Assassins point guns at him while Hajime tries to calm him down, telling him he isn’t Alekseï Gavrani.

Tomo doesn’t listen and in a few moves he kills an Assassin, steals his gun, and shoots several devices and computers in the lab, causing several explosions. Hajime, resigned to what is happening, draws his Hidden Blade to face him but a new explosion fatally wounds him, pushing him in Tomo’s hands.

Tomo finally snaps out of the Bleeding effect and decides that Maxime Gorm and Nathalie Chapman are going to pay for all of that. In his final breath Hajime tells Tomo not to go alone, to warn Saeko Mochizuki from the Osaka cell and to tell her that Chapman, Gorm and Adler are hidden in Gimmelwald in Switzerland. Against Hajime’s advice, though, Tomo decides to go, feeling he’s not alone because he’s accompanied by Alekseï Gavrani.



While driving, Maxime Gorm tells Elisa that he’d be able to neutralize her easily and that he played along with her game of forcing him to go to Switzerland because it’s the easiest way for him to understand what’s going on. Elisa, still with the gun in her hand, tells him to drive on a snowy plateau, where they find Nathalie Chapman and Stanislas, her bodyguard, waiting for them. They all go on a helicopter, which starts flying over the Alps.

Maxime says he doesn’t believe that Chapman hypnotized Elisa and then waited for the right moment for the woman to bring him to her, but Chapman says that the same happened to him, 17 years prior to that. As a matter of fact, as he is amnesiac, she tells him that back then the Adlers worked for
Chapman's new base
Abstergo and their objective was to manipulate the human brain. When in 2000 the Templars started the Great Purge, they used former Assassins like Maxime Gorm against their will. During that period, the doctor tells him, he was responsible for the death of all of the relatives and closest friends of Tomo Sakagawa, the man that attacked him in the Adlers’ house. In 2016 a man named Callum Lynch destroyed the Abstergo building where the Adlers worked, but they were able to flee, with Maxime in their “luggage”. That is why in 2017 the Adlers were still putting him in the Animus.

The helicopter finally gets to Chapman’s new facility, where she wants to show Elisa and Maxime her “project for the future of our species” and why they are so important for it.

Once they get to Chapman’s new base, the doctor shows them the antennas, which are high frequency radio emitters destined to interact with the ionosphere. While entering the base, Chapman explains that her aim is to give man the biggest advancement of his history by freeing his access to the genetic memory. The last step in her project lies within the optimization of a very specific Apple of Eden. A man named Razkovitch shows Elisa and Maxime an Apple of Eden, which the latter recognizes as Apple of Eden #4, the one he saw being used by the Nazis in Eddie Gorm’s memories. Chapman explains that she “inherited” it from his father Boris Pash. She also adds that she was conceived nine months before he left Vietnam, “a fundamental period for his experiments with the artefact”.

Because Chapman doesn’t have access to the DNA database that she had in her old base, in order to get to the final information from the period before she was conceived, she asks Maxime to go into a standard Animus to explore the memories of his mother, Julia Gorm, and in exchange she would give his and Elisa’s memories back. Maxime accepts Chapman’s offer.


Julia’s memories start right after Alekseï spotted her. Julia slits Doni’s throat, then throws a knife to Zenia’s right shoulder. Alekseï orders Pash to save her, while he tries to counter Julia’s attacks. The two of them fight – the man with a rifle, the woman avoiding some of the bullets and being slightly hit by others. After a moment of silence where he points the weapon at her, she draws her Hidden Blade right at the same time as he shoots.

Both of them hit the other, both of them fall on the ground, bleeding profusely.

In what seems to be her dying breath, Julia looks at Pash and says “Colonel, I’m sorry for failing with Kramer… Sorry for Julia Dusk…”.
Alekseï, on the contrary, lies on the ground with blood all around him. This is the last time he appears in the comic.
While she keeps bleeding, Zenia suggests Pash to use Alekseï’s radio to contact the U.S.S. Maddox and to ask them to send a rescue team. While initially he believes that Herrick will not accept to send a team to Northern Vietnam, Zenia tells him to ask to talk directly to William King Harvey and to offer his Apple of Eden in exchange for their safety. Pash, therefore, has to choose between his Apple and his child.


AUGUST 4, 1964

Julia is seemingly alive on a bed, although she’s passed out. Around her are Pash and William King Harvey, who reached the ship as planned. Harvey retrieved the Apple hidden by Pash (meaning he chose his child over it).

Pash seems doubtful, though. He says that Harvey is a CIA director, the creator of the Bloodstone Unit and his Mentor within the Brotherhood. If he had wanted the Apple so much, he should have just asked for it instead of sending Gavrani. According to Pash, Harvey was also the one who ordered him to start Project Bluebird, to launch the coup d’etat against President of South Vietnam Diem, and to organize the Kennedy Assassination. After all of this Pash asks Harvey why everything happened the way it did.

Finally, Pash understands that Harvey at some point had decided to defect to the Templars and become a double agent.
Harvey finally reveals his plans. All of this lead to the USA getting involved in the Vietnamese conflict, which allowed the Templars to strengthen their influence in the region – along with gaining the Apple of Eden.

"Allow me to present a
Templar friend: Warren Vidic"
Pash tries to attack Harvey, but he says it’s too late because he already sent a message to US president Johnson. In that message Harvey stated that one of their most famous colonels (Pash) had been captured, causing the intrusion of the U.S.S.Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin and a successful rescue operation which, however, caused the enemy to open fire on the US troops – a hateful aggression against the United States, in Harvey’s words. Harvey believes that in three days the US Congress will vote for a resolution that will cause the United States to open warfare against North Vietnam.

That is not the end of Harvey’s plan, though. He also aimed at using Pash’s knowledge about Apple of Eden #4 for the Order, but Pash says that the Apple always caused major issues. Kramer tried to use it to create super soldiers and he caused his base to explode. Von Neumann tried to use it to travel in time, but that caused the death of hundreds of marines in Philadelphia. Pash himself tried to redeem himself by raising Eddie Gorm’s daughter and instead created a monster.

Harvey stops him by saying that Pash had achieved some results with Julia, as she is the living proof that the human brain can exploit the experience obtained from the memories of one’s ancestors. Pash counters by saying that, yes, Bluebird allowed to wake something buried inside Julia, but her human spirit wasn’t ready to accept several independent consciences – and that nobody else would have been able to bear it. Because of that, Pash now believes that the Precursor technology is dangerous for mankind and that their duty should be to destroy all of it, but Harvey says that progress can’t be achieved without sacrifice.

Right after that he allows a young Warren Vidic to enter the room, holding a newborn baby. Harvey describes Vidic as a young prodigy and the person that took care of Zenia’s labor. Vidic says that sadly Zenia didn’t make it, as she asked him to prioritize the life of her daughter Nathalie to hers.

Pash, bearing the pain for Zenia’s loss, tries to get close to the child in order to hold her, but Harvey tells him that he needs to ensure Pash’s loyalty first – which makes Pash react harshly. Harvey tells Pash that Nathalie will stay with the Templars and that if he cares about her, he has to consider himself at the Templars’ service, to leave the CIA and to give all of his research to professor Vidic. From such research Vidic would start his own studies into the notion of the genetic memory, while taking care of Nathalie.

As a cherry on top of all of this, Harvey says that Julia Gorm will also become a new asset for him, as he needs a new Agent QJ/WIN


The flow of memories is over and Chapman decides she’s seen enough. Stanislas asks if they have missed something, even the tiniest of details, but Chapman says it’s over, that “the great Boris Pash put his dreams aside for me. What a shame”.

According to Chapman, it is known that in the Sixties a new Agent QJ/Win took control of the ZR Rifle operations, assassinations of political leaders on behalf of the CIA. Some rumors mentioned her methods being extreme, with torture being described as the most merciful one. And now it is finally known it was Julia Gorm.

By comparing her lineage with that of Maxime Gorm, Chapman says that she worked as guinea pig for Warren Vidic from the end of the Seventies to test what would have become the Animus. While doing so, she learnt her father’s true story and concocted a plan to avenge him and continue his work.

Thus, she gave a copy of the Animus blueprints to an American Assassin, then she fled Vidic’s lab, taking Apple of Eden #4 with her, which is why she has it now.

The main room of Chapman's new base (with the Apple of Eden connected to Project Bluebird on the top right)

All in all, by exploring Julia’s memories, Chapman now has the proof that she survived for some time with the memories of Eddie Gorm in her mind, so she can proceed with her plan. She asks her scientists to activate her antennas and decides that she doesn’t want to attempt a complete memory resurrection as it happened with Julia Gorm, but to try and wake the human consciences to the genetic memories because in her mind a more evolved human being would mean the end of the conflict between Assassins and Templars.

Chapman orders the scientists to adjust the Apple of Eden to 5% of its power and to aim Bluebird only on the town of Gimmelwald and one of them answers the machine will require an hour to send the radioelectric waves in the ionosphere.

In the meantime, an Assassin is climbing the snowy side of the mountain, then reaches the main building of Chapman’s facility and lastly climbs until the window of the room where Elisa Adler is kept. Tomo breaks the window and enters the room. Elisa recognizes him and attacks him immediately because he killed her parents, but Tomo says he came to help her. He tells her his real name and that Maxime Gorm killed his mother and friends and that Chapman used both of them in order to put her hands on Elisa’s parents’ work. He says they can’t let Chapman and Gorm cause other people to suffer, which makes Elisa change her mind about Tomo.

Thus they prepare a trap for the guards that, in the meantime, are bringing Maxime to “the vermilion room” after knowing of Tomo’s infiltration. The guards ask Elisa about Tomo’s location, but he appears from behind them and very quickly assassinates them, and finally attacks Maxime by slicing the back of his legs and then piercing through his eyes with his Hidden Blades, leaving him, full of blood, on the floor.

One of the scientists detects a virus in the system, causing Bluebird to be blocked. He tells Chapman that, as the machinery needs electricity to work, someone sneaked in their servers by connecting their mobile device to one of the electric sockets of the building. That’s when Tomo enters the main room with a smartphone in his hand.

He suggests a bargain: the smartphone contains the only chance to unlock Bluebird, but Tomo had it encrypted. If Chapman accepts to allow him and Elisa to go on a helicopter and fly away from the facility, he will give her the encrypted smartphone and will then unlock it through another phone, after flying away.

Chapman accepts the bargain, but has a final exchange with Tomo. She says that by offering the genetic memory to the entire population, Bluebird will provide a universal wisdom and will guide mankind towards true freedom. Tomo counters by saying that freedom isn’t about cluttering up one’s life with that of their ancestors but, instead, to be allowed to make choices without any external influence.

Seeing their vision is so different, Chapman allows them to go, considering that Elisa is still under her mind conditioning, making it easy for her to re-call her and force her to bring Tomo back once Bluebird is fully operative.

While on the helicopter, Elisa asks Tomo if he really wants to deactivate the virus, considering the damage that Bluebird can cause, but Tomo says she has another plan. He understood that Chapman’s facility is located in the Alps because she needs a lot of ice to cool down her machinery, thus what he is sending isn’t an unlocking code, but a trojan virus which will corrupt their cooldown systems, with the kicker that Chapman herself will inject it in her main computer.

The final panel shows the main antenna exploding with a blue glow diffusing in the sky.


Analysis and Final Thoughts

… The End? What?

Yes, the graphic novel ends abruptly and doesn’t really bring an epic conclusion to the Conspiracies and Bloodstone sagas as it was announced,
The first plot twist of Bloodstone's volume 2
considering what’s still at stake, the unknown consequences of the explosion of the Bluebird antenna, Chapman being still at large with Apple of Eden #4 and more unsolved questions. What’s more, all of this is contextualized towards the end of 2017, while these events aren’t really hinted at or acknowledged in any other modern day content that happened after that – to give you an idea, this is roughly when the modern day part of Assassin’s Creed Origins takes place.

Despite the abrupt ending, though, as mentioned in the non-spoiler review, the quality and balance of the narrative is very good, with several plot twists from the beginning to the end, some of which deserve to be analyzed in-depth, as they encompass most of the themes that the comic deals with. The revelation of Chapman being Boris Pash’s daughter who is attempting to complete his projects and research, the sadness and violence revolving around the Gorm family, the plot twist of Harvey being working for the Templars and his intricate plans and Tomo’s final attack on Chapman’s base do work in shocking and engaging the reader, considering what all of these major plot points involve and especially taking into consideration the extended lore of the franchise.

Thus, before getting to my final thoughts, let’s delve into each of them and see what their content has to offer.

Boris Pash’s legacy

The surprise of Chapman being Pash’s daughter opens up to a very interesting connection and comparison between the two, taking into account their story and plans for humanity.

Boris Pash (Source: Wikipedia)
Boris Pash was a historical character, a military intelligence officer who is a key character in both Conspiracies and Bloodstone comics – and an important member of the Assassins Brotherhood. In Conspiracies he’s the one who recruits Eddie Gorm and sends him after Templar Gero Kramer and his Apple of Eden #4. He’s also behind the temporary alliance with Templar John Von Neumann over the Philadelphia Project, which aimed at using Die Glocke and the Apple of Eden to go back in the past and prevent World War II. Fourteen years after the experiment presumably failed, in 1957, Pash killed Von Neumann in order to gain the Apple of Eden back and to start both the Assassin taskforce known as Bloodstone Unit (which caused the Kennedy assassination in order to obtain Apple of Eden #3) and Project Bluebird. Bluebird, in particular, was a project that, through its hypnotic and brainwashing means, had the objective to remove the “lock” that men had since their origin and to allow them to access all the memories of their ancestors – keep in mind that the Animus didn’t exist at this point, the only devices close to that were Pash’s Bluebird machine and Kramer’s Die Glocke. Pash didn’t just use his machine to allow people to access their ancestors’ memories, though. In fact, the machine allowed him to brainwash users, to hypnotise them in case he wanted to interrogate them, and, the most crazy of potential uses, cause the ancestors’ mind to “bleed” in the body of their descendants and thus, in a way, “be reborn” – as it happened with Julia Gorm and Eddie Gorm.

A remarkable character, without a doubt, and that’s before Pash was even forced to defect to the Templars. In fact, as explained in Bloodstone’s volume 2, the bases of Warren Vidic’s Animus project lied on Pash’s research on the genetic memory.

Thus, Pash’s legacy had a direct influence on the Animus, but his bloodline did too. In fact, starting from her birth in 1964, Warren Vidic ran several experiments on Pash’s daughter Natalie for what would have become the Animus Project. During these sessions, apparently, she found out the true story about her father, which pushed her to find a way to avenge him and continue his work – and pushes me to question why she needed to see the last part of Pash’s story through Julia Gorm’s memories in 2017 if she already had seen them during Vidic’s experiments in the Sixties.

Nathalie worked as Vidic’s guinea pig until the Seventies, when she was 10-15 years old, when – she says – she decided to give the Animus blueprints to an American Assassin. This is not mentioned by chance, as the picture and description of the event remind of a very specific memory from Assassin’s Creed Initiates, that took place in Moscow in 1977, called “A Brash American”. In such memory a very young William Miles, after escaping some Templar agents, gave Medeya Voronina, Galina’s mother, a series of blueprints stolen from Abstergo that documented “a machine called an Animus”. Thus, in a mirrored way, it looks like Nathalie Chapman stole the Animus blueprints from Vidic’s lab, then gave them to William Miles who, after being discovered, delivered them to Medeya Voronina. After all, the timeline checks, the pictures are very similar, almost literally mirrored, so…

Chapman hands the Animus blueprints to the "American Assassin" towards the end of the Seventies

William Miles hands the Animus blue prints to Medeya Voronina in 1977

After delivering the blueprints, Nathalie stole the Apple of Eden that Harvey had gotten from Pash, fled Vidic’s lab and started her plans to find out all the information she could find about the success of his father’s Bluebird Project and how to further its goals by using the Apple. She started by searching through Abstergo’s Helix genetic database, finding Alekseï Gavrani’s memories, then she explored Julia Gorm’s memories up until she finally found out that Bluebird had actually worked (despite all its dangerous consequences). That’s where she finally decided to launch Bluebird, although that didn’t really work as planned, thanks to Tomo.

Thus, Pash’s bloodline seems to have a very strong relevance in the Assassin’s Creed Conspiracies and Bloodstone comics, but – at least to me – it keeps sparking a very interesting interaction and comparison through time with another bloodline…

The Gorm lineage – three stories across a century

Eddie Gorm
(Source: Assassin's Creed Wiki)
The story of the Gorm family is very interesting, violent and sad at the same time and after Bloodstone’s second volume it seems to have found its final epilogue.

According to Pash, the Gorm lineage was made up of a great and long line of Assassin, the “heir” of which (and first member that we got to know of) was Eddie, a former member of the British Navy who, as mentioned earlier, was inducted into the Brotherhood by Pash himself, in order to infiltrate Nazi Germany’s atomic program and, later on, to kill Nazi and Templar leader Gero Kramer in order to obtain the Apple of Eden in his possession. In this mission he was supported by Assassin Julia Dusk, for whom he began to develop feelings, but all that came to an end when, after killing Kramer, they found out Pash wanted to temporarily cooperate with the Templars to get the global situation “under control”. Thinking that Pash wanted to create his own bomb by using the Apple of Eden, Julia decided to commit suicide on July 15th, 1943, by having a grenade exploding in her hand while holding the Apple on the other.

This changed Eddie’s life forever and caused his psychosis and his obsession to kill Pash, which he tried to do several months later, on October 29th, 1943, when he faced him for the last time before the presumed failure of the Philadelphia Project. In that occasion, after a verbal and physical confrontation, Eddie’s psychosis had the best of him and, like Julia Dusk, he committed suicide in front of Pash.

The Bloodstone comics introduced another member of the Gorm family, Julia Gorm, as a twenty year old daughter of Eddie Gorm, in 1963. Thus, while it was never mentioned who the mother was, Julia was Eddie’s daughter and bore the name of his love interest, Julia Dusk – and was born in 1943, exactly the same year when both Julia Dusk and Eddie committed suicide (with all the lore issues this brought with itself, as this was experienced by his descendant Maxime within the Animus while his memory flow *should* have been stopped the moment Julia was conceived).

Because of this, Julia was never able to meet her father (and possibly her mother, if it were Julia herself) and it’s very likely that she was raised from a very young age by Boris Pash, both because she’s a member of the Bloodstone Unit when she’s 20 years old and because the Bloodstone comics mention that Pash always loved Julia as if she were his daughter. In hindsight it’s very ironic and heartbreaking that Pash possibly raised the daughter of the man he used while 20 years later the Templars, in turn, used him and raised his daughter Nathalie.

Pash doing experiments on Julia Gorm
with his Bluebird Project machinery
Thus, the Gorm lineage continued with Julia ending up in the Bloodstone Unit and with Pash experimenting Project Bluebird on her. As mentioned by Harvey later on, Julia was the living proof the Bluebird had worked, as Pash was already able to have Julia learn the skills of her ancestors in 1963 – which Alekseï complained about, stating that at 20 years old she was better than any member of the Bloodstone Unit, without going through any kind of training. The following experimentations on Julia in the subsequent months made it so that even Eddie Gorm’s specific psychosis “bled” in Julia’s mind, causing her to have a dissociative identity disorder, to directly believe she was her father and thus to aim at killing Pash as her father did.

Julia’s rage could only be stopped by the clash with Alekseï, which saw her emerging victorious, although heavily wounded. In that moment, when she’s lying on the ground, with Pash sitting next to her, she says “Colonel… Sorry for failing against Kramer… Sorry for Julia Dusk…”, and while this may only seem like a very clear way to show that Eddie’s feelings and emotions “bled” in Julia Gorm’s mind, it also reminded me of something else, although it probably wasn’t done intentionally by the writer. As a matter of fact, a similar situation happens in one of my favourite memories from Project Legacy called “Reunion”.

In this memory, Assassin Francesco Vecellio is able to track down in Rome a four years old Giovanni Borgia, the son of his mentor Perotto Calderon. Four years prior to that, Giovanni was born malformed and his father had given everything he had, killing both Assassins and Templars and breaking all three tenets of the Creed in a race again time to reach a Shroud of Eden and save his son’s life. Right after that, a council of Assassins judged that Perotto had to die because of his betrayal, despite his protégé Francesco’s attempts to defend and justify him. The council, then, sends a group of Assassins to kill Perotto, one of them being Francesco. Perotto fights them with all his heart, and when he sees that Francesco is attacking him too, he glances at him, “his face gripped by sadness” and does not return fire, before being overwhelmed by the other Assassins and dying.

The Assassin council deliberating Perotto's death

Fast forward four years and Francesco is able to find Giovanni, Perotto’s son. When they are walking towards a horse that would allow them to flee from Rome, Giovanni – who is four years old and has never met Francesco before – tells him he forgives him, without knowing why. Francesco asks him to repeat what he said but Giovanni doesn’t even remember that. That is because after interacting with the Shroud, Perotto’s memories and feelings “bled” through his son’s mind, and gave “Perotto” a chance to forgive Francesco for what he did, a chance that he did not have during his life.

Francesco Vecellio and Giovanni Borgia

And yes, every times I read this memory I’m a puddle of feelings.

Anyway, that’s more or less the same thing that happened to Julia Gorm, with memories and feelings of her father “bleeding” in her mind, allowing ““Eddie”” to tell Pash he was sorry for what happened to Julia Dusk.
Going back to the clash between Julia and Alekseï, while the woman survives, Gavrani presumably died – as there is no further mention of him after that event.

This possibly causes another lore issue, in that, once again, Guillaume Dorison’s writing makes it so that the memories of an ancestor can be experienced right until their death, despite him having had an offspring. In this case, Gavrani’s memories are experienced by Tomo up until he sees Julia in the forest – while his presumed death is seen through Julia’s eyes - but the time that goes between the two events can’t be more than 10-15 minutes.

Volume 1 of Bloodstone states that Alekseï had a son, who was also experimented on by Vidic in the Eighties, which is why his memories were uploaded to the Helix database and could later be explored by Tomo.
Thus, either Gavrani survived the clash with Julia and then had a child, or he had him before that time and in that case Tomo wouldn’t have been able to see Alekseï’s memories until that point.
Going back to the Gorm family, as we mentioned earlier, Julia survived the fight with Alekseï and after Harvey’s plan came to fruition, she became the new Agent QJ/Win, turning de facto into the Templar’s ruthless military wing of that period.

Julia Gorm as the new Agent QJ/Win

At some point, Julia had a child, Maxime, whose story is just as sad and scattered with mind conditioning plots as that of his ancestors. While her mother essentially became a Templar asset after 1964, both Bloodstone comics mention that in his early “career” Maxime was an Assassin. In Bloodstone’s volume 1 Chapman implies that Maxime somehow ended up in Vidic’s hands and he brainwashed him before the Great Purge of 2000 the same way he did with Daniel Cross in 1983. As a matter of fact, the opening of Bloodstone’s volume 1 shows a young but already adult Maxime as the commander of the team that wiped out an Assassin Training Camp in Kyushu Island, Japan, on December 6th, 2000, as part of the Templar’s Great Purge operation. Thus, assuming Maxime was around 20 during the raid to the Assassin camp, Julia gave birth to him in the Eighties and he is around 35-40 years old during the modern day events in Conspiracies and Bloodstone.

Bloodstone’s Volume 2 states that in the 2000s the Adlers took over Vidic’s work on Gorm, again experimenting on Maxime in Abstergo’s headquarters in Madrid (what we know as the Abstergo Foundation). This lasted for several years, until in 2016 Callum Lynch started the uprising that can be seen in the Assassin’s Creed Movie and during which the Adlers fled the building, bringing Maxime with them. For around a year the Adlers kept working on Maxime, up until November 2017, when Tomo reached the Adlers’ house and Maxime emerged amnesiac from the Animus.

The rest, as described in our story summary, is history. Maxime – a trained Assassin and then Templar operative who also gained Eddie Gorm’s skills – escaped Madrid with Elisa, reached Chapman’s new base in Switzerland and went in her mother’s memories to ascertain if Project Bluebird had worked in exchange for Chapman’s promise of restoring his memory. That never happened as he was – again presumably – assassinated by the man whose family and friends he had unwillingly killed in that Assassin Training Camp because he had been brainwashed by the Templars.

William King Harvey, the Templar double agent

William King Harvey's funniest face
Apparently I am still very gullible as I did not see this coming, and I especially did not expect to see all of Harvey’s plan coming to fruition in few pages in a “winner takes all” way, where Harvey and the Templars gained Pash’s past research, Julia Gorm as a new lethal weapon, Pash’s contribution as a researcher until his death and even Pash’s daughter to experiment on. Oh, and two Apples of Eden, while they were at it. This was not a victory after a contested fight between the Assassins and Templars, but a landslide triumph for the Templars through and through that started in Bloodstone’s volume 1.

As a matter of fact, “officially”, William King Harvey was Pash’s mentor in the Brotherhood and a CIA director as well. He also appeared to have a direct contact with Alekseï, who worked for him as the legendary Agent QJ/Win, running some special covert operations that – again “officially” – were meant to benefit the Brotherhood. An example of such operations was Alekseï’s retrieval of Apple of Eden #3 from the hands of William Greer after the Kennedy assassination, while another major one was Alekseï’s infiltration in Vietnam to “annihilate the Bloodstone Unit”.

On the contrary, this had been carefully orchestrated since Harvey had defected to the Templars. In fact, as explained in Bloodstone’s second volume, Harvey himself was the creator of the Bloodstone Unit. He himself gave direct orders to Pash to start Project Bluebird, to launch the coup d’etat in South Vietnam, and to organize the Kennedy Assassination.

All of this was created by Harvey in order to pin Alekseï against the Bloodstone Unit to gain Apple of Eden #3, and to pin Alekseï against Pash in order to gain Apple of Eden #4 in Vietnam along with the successful results of Project Bluebird (Julia), a new Agent QJ/Win to deploy anywhere the Templar interests might require and, after the final blackmail of having his daughter Nathalie taken care of by Warren Vidic (read: used as guinea pig for experiments), force Pash to study Apple of Eden #4 and its workings.

As an icing on the cake, during the final confrontation with Pash, Harvey states he sent a message to US president Lyndon B. Johnson (a confirmed Templar from the AC2 glyph puzzles) stating that Pash had been captured and that caused the intrusion of the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, which, in turn, attracted the attention of the North Vietnamese troops who opened fire on the US ship.

This last part actually historically happened in what was called “the Gulf of Tonkin incident”, which basically involved one real and one falsely claimed confrontation between ships of North Vietnam and the United
The U.S.S. Maddox (Source: Wikipedia)
States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. The first one, which actually happened on August 2nd, 1964 and involved the U.S.S. Maddox, is the one shown at the beginning of Bloodstone’s volume 2 as a cover for Alekseï’s infiltration into the Bloodstone Unit’s village. The second attack from the Vietnamese actually never happened (and was presumed to occur based on false radar images received by the US troops). This “false” attack but was historically mentioned to have taken place on August 4th, 1964, and is claimed to have been used by president Johnson in order to prepare his resolution to have the US directly involved in the conflict with North Vietnam.

This is very well used by Dorison in the comic, as August 4th, 1964 is the exact date when Pash and Harvey have their final confrontation and when Harvey sent that message to Johnson – a fellow Templar, as mentioned earlier – making the actual events concerning the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam war a perfect cover up for a plot organized by two high ranking Templars to further the Order’s influence on the region. Harvey even mentions that in three days the US Congress would vote for a resolution that would cause the United States to open warfare against North Vietnam and that’s exactly what happened…

All in all, while reading this, it pretty much sounded like a landslide and ominous victory for the Templars with irreparable consequences as much as it felt when Daniel Cross killed the Mentor in Assassin’s Creed: The Fall…

… with a caveat.

While this looks beautifully written and masterfully intertwined with actual historical events and characters, it also sounds like a re-retcon (or final explanation, depending on the point of view). In fact, the main issue that fans had with Bloodstone’s volume 1 was that depicting the Kennedy assassination as a plot designed by the Assassins was inconsistent with the Assassin’s Creed II glyph puzzles, where it was clearly shown that it had been planned by the Templars.

The letter from Glyph #9 from Assassin's Creed II proving the Templars were behind the Kennedy Assassination (Source: CJake3)

Bloodstone’s second volume now shows that all in all the Kennedy assassination *was* a Templar plot concocted by Harvey.

Thus… was this thought and planned from the beginning and fans were too fast in judging and criticizing or was this actually changed in the several months between the release of volumes 1 and 2 *because* of the fans’ criticism?

I guess we’ll probably never know, although it does remind me of a similar situation that happened between the two Conspiracies graphic novels, where in volume 1 Nikola Tesla worked for the Nazis and the Templars (despite him being confirmed as an ally of the Assassins both in Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: The Fall), while in volume 2 – which came out more than a year after the first one – Tesla himself declared he was a supporter of the Brotherhood and had sabotaged Die Glocke himself to stop the Templars’ plans, despite not having any evidence for that in volume 1.

Tomo’s final attack on Chapman’s base and the comic’s finale

Tomo’s final attack is the last step in the development of his character. As a kid and young man, before and after he lost all of his family and friends, he was raised / trained as a scientist / computer expert, differently from all the other Assassins surrounding him. Then he infiltrated Chapman’s clinic despite barely having any field training, went into Alekseï’s memories and, after that, was finally able to find the killer of his mother and friends, Maxime Gorm. His lack of training, though, resulted in him killing Elisa’s parents and losing the fight to Maxime (and the sight from one of his eyes).

Saeko Mochizuki
(art from Assassin's Creed Initiates)
The additional – and forced – time in Alekseï’s memories, though, caused him to suffer the Bleeding Effect and to kill all his Assassin colleagues and even his mentor Hajime. By the way, right before dying, Hajime asks Tomo not to go after Chapman alone and to to warn Saeko Mochizuki from the Osaka cell to get help from her. This is somewhat of an Easter Egg / namedrop for the hardcore fans, as Saeko Mochizuki is the Mentor of the Japanese Assassins in Osaka who appeared in Assassin’s Creed Initiates. Beyond the fine mention, it’s also nice to know she’s still alive. She should be 82 by the end of 2017…

Still, after gaining consciousness again, it seems like he’s more and more in control of his new skills, so much so that he can enter Chapman’s base, dispose of several guards, and face once again his sworn enemy, Maxime Gorm – and a defenseless one at that.

This time his thirst for vengeance has the best of him and he finally fatally wounds him, finally achieving one of his main goals. After that, he is also able to prove that his mother’s decision to have him train on computer science rather than field operations paid off with the virus blocking Bluebird and his plan about corrupting its cooldown systems.

Thus, he’s cut off all the ties to his past and his mentors, he excels both in terms of computer science and in the more traditional Assassin skills (thanks to Alekseï’s memories) and he’s escaping with the woman he allegedly has feelings for.

What’s missing… is him showing wisdom and a different drive than vengeance, which by now is an overused theme in Assassin’s Creed, and looking at the ending, there might be some room in the future for that. In fact, the comic ends in the middle of things, and doesn’t provide the “conclusion” that it promised.

There are too many questions lingering, considering the finale, and I’m not talking about the usual “doors left open” to be picked up by other stories, other writers, other media. The ending of Bloodstone – Part 2 doesn’t show what actually happened to Bluebird, if it was even partially successful over the people of Gimmelwald, how Chapman reacted, what happened to Apple of Eden #4, what Tomo decided to do after flying away and the list goes on and on…

The End?

Considering that so much has been left hanging, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new two-part comic being announced at some point, which picks up where we left off and possibly completes all the narrative threads that need a proper conclusion. All the while, possibly, not having potential retcons in the first part that need reworking in the second part.

The quality of writing is there, the characters and setup is there, the content for both hardcore and casual fans and readers is there. I’m just waiting for it to happen.

And that was it for our analysis of Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone – Volume 2! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed preparing and writing it! Let us know in the comments if you agree with our interpretations of the graphic novel or if you have different opinions and, as always, keep staying synchronized with us!

comments powered by Disqus