Tying up loose ends - Uprising #1
Marco Chiacchiera, March 7th, 2017
Translated by: Stefania

While I started writing the second part of our analysis of the Assassin’s Creed Movie, something finally got to my postbox. As the most clever among you might have deduced from the giant title right up here, it was the first issue of Assassin’s Creed Uprising.

After reading it, I felt like we needed to address (at least) the first issue of the comic considering it should be the culmination of the entire Phoenix Project storyline that started with Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Before we start, though, I’d like to say that to understand the events in Uprising and to follow this article, you need to have played the present day of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Rogue and Syndicate and to have read the “Assassin’s Creed” and “Assassin’s Creed: Templars” comics, otherwise you might not understand all the events and you might find SPOILERS.
As for the games, luckily we’ve got you covered with our analysis of Unity and Rogue and with our three part article dedicated to the present day in Syndicate. As for the comics… well, we can only suggest you to read them and follow the adventures of Charlotte de la Cruz, Galina Voronina, Otso Berg, the Bolden family etc. to at least have a basic idea of where Uprising is starting off. Other than that, in case you need a short synopsis, I’ll provide a brief description of where the two main comics series lead to before delving into Uprising and its secrets.

The new status quo created by the comics

As we said and as it was anticipated in the press releases dedicated to Uprising, the comic was meant to gather all the charactersfrom the “Assassins” and “Templars” series and have them in a single story that had to culminate the Phoenix Project narrative and that can already be seen from issue #1. Because of that, these characters and series, even though they had their ups and downs, followed their own path throughout 2016 and knowing it is instrumental to understand where Uprising is going. As such, let’s start from the events that involved the Assassins.

Get ready for the analysis and don't blink!

The Assassins and their “unification” with Erudito

In the “Assassin’s Creed” comics, the main character was Charlotte de la Cruz, an employee of the Malta Banking Corporation (an organization that supported Templar business even before Abstergo was created) that through various adventures was introduced to the Brotherhood in 2015 by a tiny cell made up of Xavier Chen, Galina Voronina and Kody Adams. Through the end of 2015 and the entirety of 2016, Charlotte experienced the memories of three of her Assassin ancestors (Tom Stoddard in 1692, Quila in 1536 and Hiram Stoddard in 1515 and 1516), gained a very specific version of Eagle Vision that allowed her not only to see through walls but also to understand whether people around her were telling the truth or not and, of course, was able to speak to Consus twice through the memories of her ancestors in a very Desmond-like fashion.

Consus talking to Charlotte
through Dorothy Osborne in 1692
The first time, while admitting that he was behind the mythological character of Prometheus, Consus told Charlotte through Tom Stoddard that she had to find “The ones with great knowledge” so that they could help her do what she was meant to do. As the plot developed, Charlotte found out that “the ones with great knowledge” were the hacking collective Erudito: Charlotte makes the connection because of Erudito claims “to steal all the secrets” but the riddle possibly also hinted at the fact that Erudito actually means “person with great knowledge”or, more appropriately, “scholar” in Italian. Funnily enough, Prometheus in the Greek mythology was the Titan that stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind and in the Project Legacy e-mails Erudito had the avatar of the Olympics torch which, in turn, is a symbol of the fire given to humanity by Prometheus.

After that, Charlotte works to reach Erudito and when she does (in Argentina), she finds that her grandmother, Florencia, is the “leader” of the hacker collective. To be more precise, when Charlotte and her team are brought to the so-called Hive, the main safehouse built by Florencia on an island, they find themselves inside a “political” debate within Erudito. On one side is Dewalt, who is very much attached to how Erudito has always been, an invisible free group who looks for information and looks out for its own interests, while on the other side there is Florencia, who calls for a radical change in the organization, training field agents in the Hive, directly attacking the Templars, and building more Hives across the globe.

The entirety of the debate lies – and we finally get to it – in how to react to the Phoenix Project, the long term plan concocted by the Templars aimed to sequence the Precursors’ triple-helix genomeand to re-engineer the Pieces of Eden, as shown in Assassin’s Creed Unity, Rogue and Syndicate. The same plan that in the comics, unless I misunderstood it, was deliberately downgraded to “The Templar’s plan is to unleash Juno”, which to me is completely different from everything that was shown up until now… unless it’s just Erudito’s point of view?

Anyway, while the members of Erudito are voting to choose how to re-organize themselves, Charlotte is suggested to go in the Animus once againbecause, after knowing she had seen Consus in one of his ancestors once, Florencia believes that there is another instance in which Consus showed up that was witnessed by another ancestor of hers, Hiram Stoddard, along with Giovanni Borgia, and that message might help them in fighting the Templars and Project Phoenix.

Hiram Stoddard and Giovanni Borgia, best friends.

In the following hours the debate within Erudito gets rougher and because she believes that they are actually discussing and fighting for the same goals that the Assassins have, she one-sidedly decides to suggest an alliance between the Assassins and Erudito, especially because the hooded ones need the hackers to rebuild the Brotherhood… Which are the exact same words used by Shaun to have the Initiates join the Brotherhood so that the Initiates faction could slowly disappear from the brand narrative (“With you on our side, we can hope to rebuild the Brotherhood.”). I really hope this is not going to be the case for Erudito too, as it was a faction that one way or another has been part of the franchise since 2010, but all the elements are pointing towards that direction, as we’re going to see.

To solidify this alliance, Charlotte decides she’ll go in the Animus to look for Consus once again together with Kody and Guernica Moneo, one of Erudito’s best hackers, in exchange for the whereabouts of a very important target for the Brotherhood, JosephLaurier, that Galina would have had to hunt along with My’shellLemair and Sheed, two other members of the hacker collective that the Russian assassin had trained as field agents.

Consus possessing Giovanni
Borgia in 1515 to send Charlotte
another message
As expected, Charlotte is really able tofindConsus who, possessing Giovanni Borgia once again (or should we say for the first time?), says “My words are for the watcher, who soon become the shepherd. Your enemy seems manifest child, but the mountain’s glimmer calls to many. Its summit shall see her true awakening” and right when Charlotte thinks “Just tell me how to stop the Phoenix Project!” hesays “You must let the wolf dwell with the lamb..

Some really criptic words, in a perfect AC style, that possibly lead to Uprising but that can still be interpreted at this point.

As you might remember, Consus always tried to help “positive” characters, such as Charlotte, Giovanni Borgia, Tom Stoddard and, allegedly, Joan of Arc (as mentioned in Heresy), but he also worked with more ambiguous ones like William Woodman or downright antagonists like Álvaro Gramática.

The thread that some of those “relationships” had in common was that through those Consus was trying to help humanity in general and specifically against Juno before and after she was freed from the Grand Temple. As a matter of fact, Consus and Juno have a long story that dates back to the Isu Era: after Consus physically died and transferred his conscience in his prototype Shroud, Juno found out about what he did and decided to use and fine-tune his transcendence method first with her husband Aita and then, when she failed with that, with her own conscience that was transferred in the Grand Temple. “She found me. Usurped my work. Used it for her own ends”, in Consus’ words.

As shown in Syndicate, even by staying in the prototype Shroud, Consus knew about Juno’s and Minerva’s plans and was clearly on the latter’s side. In
The Shroud of Eden
fact, in 2012, he is shocked to learn that “Minerva has failed” and that “She lies in wait no longer. Sheis free!”. That is why, for what he could, he tried to help Gramática and Berg by saying “He who is the image of Aita. He will herald her return.” and “Perhaps once, your uprising(haha…) was an affront. But after the catastrophe, everything changed. (…) Everything is impermanent. Except, the grey area inside of systems. The connections.”. In fact, with these last two sentences he said that the Sages (or a Sage?) would herald her return in the modern day and that while she maybe wanted revenge on humanity during the war before the Toba catastrophe, now she has a different plan of bringing it to the so-called Grey, the totality of the digital networks that connect the world. In a way, Consus tries to warn the Templars about Juno’s capabilities and, as far as we know, that’s all he did up until October 13th, 2014, when Galina Voronina destroyed the prototype Shroud and his consciousness with it.

With the Assassin’s Creed comic, though, and I’m not sure if this is a partial retcon or not, we get to know that Consus had actually sent at least two messages to Charlotte de la Cruz in an attempt to stop Juno’s plans. The first one, as mentioned before, was sent in 1692 through the eyes of Thomas Stoddard so that it could be received in 2015 by Charlotte while the second one was sent in 1515 through Hiram Stoddard so it could be received by the girl in 2016. The reason why I believe it’s a partial retcon is that Syndicate shows that on December 21st, 2012, Consus really seems shocked by the fact that Juno was able to walk free from the Grand Temple, meaning that before that he was hoping that Minerva’s plan would have worked. Because of that, his messages sent 300 and 500 years before 2012 for Charlotte to stop Juno assume that back then he expected Juno to be freed in the future, which seems to be inconsistent with his shock at Juno’s actual liberation. Then again, maybe Consus was trying to be extra careful by sending those messages, but still…

Anyway, going back to Consus’ second message, after this brief parenthesis, we can safely assume that by “My words are for the watcher, who soon become the shepherd.”, Consus meant that he was talking to Charlotte and that soon she would have lead (in an unspecified way) the Assassins in what they had to do, possibly with regard to the Phoenix Project. The next sentence, “Your enemy seems manifest child, but the mountain’s glimmer calls to many. Its summit shall see her true awakening” is much trickier to explain and possibly will result in having consequences in Uprising, even after the events we are going to analyze later. In fact, Consus says that her enemies may seem obvious to her, and that’s probably a reference to the Templars, but many other people could be interested in the “Mountain’s glimmer”. It took me a few moments to understand what that meant, but then I realized that it’s another wording for “Mountain of Light”, which is in turn the English translation for “Koh-i-Noor”. Because of that, Consus is telling Charlotte that some other people / enemies will be interested in finding the Koh-i-Noor, and that it’s this Piece of Eden that will be instrumental to Juno’s true awakening. BOOM!

"The mountain's glimmer calls to many..."

Consus ends his speech by ‘answering’ “You must let the wolf dwell with the lamb..” to Charlotte’s question about how to stop Project Phoenix and once again, this has a hidden meaning. Specifically as forums user Sorrosyss pointed out at this link, if Charlotte is “a shepherd”, then the lamb is very likely to be representing the Assassin Brotherhood, which means that the wolf is probably a symbol for the Templar Order (after all they’ve always hunted the Assassins much like wolves with lambs). If that’s what the message means, then Consus is suggesting Charlotte to have the Templars cooperate with the Assassins to stop the threat posed by Juno (you can find a similar version of this theory by yours truly and Sorrosyss on the forums too).

We’ll see if any of that is going to actually reveal to be true as the message is difficult to process as of now. In fact it is difficult to process for Charlotte as well, as after she receives the message she is pulled out of the Animus because the Templars have found Erudito’s base. The Assassins and the hackers try to save all the information they had about the Phoenix Project from their servers and then manage to flee the island thanks to an helicopter sent by the Brotherhood, but they are not unscathed. In fact, in the commotion both Kody and Sheed died, along with (probably) many other members of the hacking collective. This creates a sort of miscellaneous team of survivors that sort of symbolizes the union between the Assassins and Erudito (that was never officialised because of the Templar attack). The members of the team, not counting Florencia who also survived, as of now are: Charlotte, My’shell and Galina (that returned from their mission), Guernica, Kiyoshi Takakura and Arend Schut Cunningham (both of whom were on the helicopter sent by the Assassins).

Of course it’s not a chance that it’s the exact same team that appears on the covers of Uprising because this is how the Assassin’s Creed comic ends and so this is where the Assassins (and Erudito) stand at the beginning of the new comics series.

The Templars, the Black Cross and the (pointless?) search for the Koh-i-Noor

As for “Templars”, the comics series, it is made up of two main arcs. The first was mainly dedicated to introduce a prominent figure in the Templar Order, the so called Black Cross. The Black Cross is basically a secret inquisitor of the Templar Order, an agent answering only to the
Albert Bolden,
the last Black Cross
(Source: AC Wiki)
Inner Sanctum, that has the mission to track and kill the corrupted members of the Order itself (and, as seen in the second arc, to find Pieces of Eden too, but that’s not his main task).

As shown in Templars, theBlack Cross that appears in the first arc of the comic is Albert “Albie” Bolden, a Templar agent that was active in the Twenties after taking part in World War I. Albert was the last member of the Bolden family to bear the Black Cross title, although many members of the family had held it before him, and in general, was the last known Black Cross, presumed dead in Shanghai in 1929 (hence why in-canon the Templars never talked about the Black Cross in the present day).

As the plot in Templars goes, Otso Berg crossed paths withAlbie Bolden while watching the memories of Darius Gift (the protagonist of the first arc of the comic)in November 2013 in Abstergo Entertainment, in the same place and time where the events of Black Flag are taking place and right after the events of Brahman. As a matter of fact, according to Berg, the recent raids in India by Abstergo proved that the person known as the Black Cross was the last person to possess the Koh-i-Noor (the most powerful Piece of Eden that could bind the “fate” of the other Pieces).

Considering that this takes place in November 2013, it is highly implied that the raids in India are the very ones that took place in Brahman, which possibly means that what is mentioned in Templars is a bit inconsistent with the graphic novel. In fact, as shown in the last panels of Brahman, the Assassins erase the final part of the recording of RazaSoora’s memories in 1839 so that when Berg finds ithe is pushed to believe the Koh-i-Noor was destroyed and that the data he obtained only led to a dead end. A bit different from saying that the raids in India led the Templars to believe the diamond had not been destroyed and that the last person that got hold of him was the Black Cross in 1929.

André Bolden... wait, is that
Laurence Fishburne?
Anyway, inconsistencies or not, even the search for the Koh-i-Noor in 1929 proves to be unsuccessful and so Berg decides to temporarily abandon the hunt for the Piece of Eden and the thirst for knowledge about the Black Cross... up until 2016 when he finds André “Dre” Bolden, a 72 years old Vietnam veteran and descendant of the Bolden family in the present day.

Berg and her “““faithful””” subordinate Violet da Costa reach Bolden and trick him into going with them into the Abstergo facility in Philadelphia, lying to him about what they’d do with him. When they reach the facility they put him in the Animus thanks to the help of dr. Caitlin Gift (a descendant of Darius from the first arc of the comic). The goal is once again to look for the Koh-i-Noor, and especially for the instances in which a Black Cross put his hands on it.
This time the mission is successful, as it actually leads Berg closer and closer to actually see a Black Cross and the Koh-i-Noor… except the events shown through Dre’s genetic memories take place from 1805 to 1808, making the search useful to know more about the Black Crosses and to “see” the Koh-i-Noor but not that useful to actually find its location in the modern day as Berg already knew that the diamond was in India in 1839 (AC: Brahman) and that it was later given to Ethan Frye in 1841 (AC: Chronicles India).
Anyway, Dre’s memories allow Berg to witness not one but three Black Crosses (Solomon Bolden, TavisOlier and Jan van der Graff ) and to get closer to see the Koh-i-Noor, as previously mentioned. This causes, after an entire year, the Instruments of the First Will to finally make an appearance in an AC story. More specifically, while she is not seen Violet da Costa installs a Trojan in the computers of the Animus room to divert / upload the data from Dre’s genetic memories to an unspecified destination (of course it’s Juno and the Instruments). Or at least this was the plan.

Berg's trusting face... wait,
is that Alec Baldwin?
When Berg starts to get information from Dre’s memories and in turn chooses to be more honest by explaining to him why they need him in the Animus, Violet says that she didn’t expect his boss to be so trusting, to which Berg answers “You wound me. After all, I trust you...” with a face that is everything but trusting. So, while Berg seems to show his first doubts about Violet, he assigns a doctor to take care of Dre, a man named Freddy, that suddenly exchanges a knowing glance with Violet.

The man is of course, like Violet another member of the Instruments of the First Will, the organization dedicated to Juno’s worship (and possibly resurrection). The comics show a meeting between Violet and Freddy where he expresses his concern and the concern of the entire organization about Bolden and Berg getting too close to the Koh-i-Noor. Freddy’s suggestion is to kill Bolden before he reveals too many information about the diamond through his genetic memory, and while Violet is against it because it would only make Berg suspicious, the Instruments had already sent four people to kill him in a street while he is getting out of a bar. Luckily Berg is with him and disposes of the attackers, and confirms Violet’s worry, bringing Dre immediately to the Abstergo lab and calling her, asking where she is (to which he doesn’t receive a detailed answer) and ordering her to reach him. This obviously makes Berg suspect there is a mole in the lab, although he can’t picture who it is yet.

Jan van der Graff...
wait, is that Michael Fassbender?
(ok, ok, the joke is getting stale...)
If that didn’t raise Otso’s doubts enough, Freddy’s anxiety(at least I think it’s anxiety, the same facial expression is re-used so many times for him it’s hard to understand) pushes him to make another mistake. After Berg brings Bolden to the lab, he immediately asks him to go back into the Animus because he believes there is a leak of information inside their group. Seeing Bolden’s ancestor, Jan van der Graff, interacting with people that know about the Koh-i-Noor and even call it by his name, after the Animus session is over, Freddy decides to go back into the Animus room late at night.He finds that Caitlin Gift, the Animus technician has found the siphon created by Violet days earlier that transferred the data from Dre’s memories to the Instruments of the First Will and so, obviously, decides to kill her but leaves the body in the room.

When Berg along with André reach the lab to see what happened, Violet tries to cover everything up by saying that the security cache showed that the Animus technician was uploading data to an unknown party, but judging by what he sees in front of him, Berg is convinced that Caitlin wasn’t the mole. In all the turmoil Freddy even tries to convince André to get out of the Animus room (possibly to find a way to kill him too) but the 72 years old man adamantly stays in a room to follow Berg. Otso tries to discuss what happened to Caitlin in private with Violet and when he does, he already says that he suspects it was a set-up, that Caitlin was innocent and that she was killed by the mole or an accomplice. Because of this, seeing that this research into the Koh-i-Noor is receiving so much unwanted attention, Berg asks André if he is ok to keep going in the Animus to finally see what happened to the diamond in 1808. The man accepts and finally he witnesses his ancestor becoming a Black Cross and finding the real Koh-i-Noor in the hands of the sultan. The memory stream ends showing Bolden’s ancestor shockingly giving the Koh-i-Noor to the Assassins in 1808. Another dead end for the modern day Templars in their hunt for the diamond, as it seems, that prompts Berg and Violet to pull André out of the Animus.

Van der Graff hands the box with the Koh-i-Noor to the Assassins

Later that day, André and Berg go yet again to a bar to discuss everything they have witnessed, sealing a sort of friendship that they have shared throughout the past days and which brings the story arc to its conclusion with three main consequences.

The first is that in a few panels the comic shows that Freddy was found dead by Berg and Violet in a room of the Abstergo compound. Berg states that “It’s taken care of” which possibly means two things: either Violet killed him because he was a loose cannon within the Instruments of the First Will or, more likely, Berg found out about who was responsible for Caitlin’s death (in that case, though, that would have gotten him even closer to find out about the Instruments’ involvement in the situation).
The second result is that, while the research in the Animus seemed to be unsuccessful, André actually reveals that as he was getting out of the Animus, he saw that his ancestor had actually tricked the Assassins into believing he had given them the Koh-i-Noor while he actually gave them an empty box, keeping the diamond for himself.

Aaaaand it was a ruse, obviously

Finally, and this is the main connection between the Templars and Uprising series, Berg makes a fundamental decision. After seeing Freddy’s body and realizing he was a mole, Berg realized that he can trust nobody even in Abstergo (he even tells Violet… hint hint). Because of this, as a shocking move at the end of the Templars comic, he decides he will resurrect the title of the Black Cross in the modern day and that he himself will be the first Black Cross since Albert Bolden in 1927.

Tying up the storylines

Thus, the status quo right at the end of the two comics series shows three factions working behind the scenes to reach their intended goals:

  • The Assassins and Erudito, who find a common ground to fight the Templars and stop the Phoenix Project

  • The Templars, who are not closer to achieve their objectives (finding the Koh-i-Noor and completing the Phoenix Project) than they were before, but contrarily to what happens to the Assassins, are internally fractured, which calls for a new Black Cross, Otso Berg

  • The Instruments of the First Will, who are lurking behind the scenes, trying to obtain information and waiting for the right moment to strike (and it appears they should wait a bit longer if their best shot was Freddy).

At the centre of all of this, the prophecy from the Assassin’s Creed comic that foresees Charlotte to become a “leader” of the Assassins possibly teaming up with the Templars to find the Koh-i-Noor before other parties like the Instruments of the First Will can find it to finally awake Juno.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the context needed to understand Uprising and after this long explanation we’re finally ready to delve into the first issue of the new Assassin’s Creed comic book series by Titan.

Let's dive right into it!

An ambush for the Assassins led by the most unexpected of characters

It is difficult to have a clear idea about how much time passes between the end of the Assassins and Templars series and the beginning of Uprising, as the comics usually date the events only by writing “2015” or “2016” without even writing the month, let alone the day in with they happen. In my headcanon, considering the same happened for AC Unity and Syndicate, I’ve always thought that the release date for the comics also implied a similar date in the present day events of the comics. So, considering that Assassins ended on December 28th and Templars on January 25th while Uprising started on February 1st, it does seem like the events of Uprising happen right after the ones of the other two series, although, an element in the comic might point towards a different direction, as we’ll see. Then again, it’s just my opinion at this point.

Regardless of the “when” and “where”, though, what positively surprised me in Uprising #1 is the narrative style. As a matter of fact, instead of starting slow, it puts the reader right in the middle of the action and only after the action sequence has ended, it tries to explore what really happened through the eyes of the Assassins and of the Templars, which is – at least for me – rather unusual.

The comic starts in Hong Kong in an Abstergo facility situated in a skyscraper, with the most unexpected situation that could happen in such building: an Assassin cell, lead by Charlotte de la Cruz is fighting what seems to be another group of better equipped Assassins. Charlotte’s cell is at an immediate disadvantage and almost all its members are killed by the mysterious opponents, also because it’s later revealed that it was ambushed in the Abstergo building. This pushes her to do a Leap of Faith to save herself and while she’s doing this she tells Guernica, the only other survivor of the mission who was waiting in a van for the extraction and escape, that the cell was attacked by other people dressing and behaving like Assassins.

The futuristic Assassin
To be more specific, even at this point it’s already possible to see that this mysterious group is not just “better equipped”, but many of its members are wearing visors, tasers and armors that have almost never been the classic equipment seen on modern day Assassins and yet, they seem to be bearing the Assassins insignia all over them. One of them in particular seems to be equipped like an Assassin from the future: high tech goggles, a very strong (metal?) armor, military pouches, and, above all, what seems to be a heated / thermal Hidden Blade. This is the first enemy of the mysterious group that chases Charlotte performing a Leap of Faith, but others follow him while the girl hops on Guernica’s van. After this, another action scene ensues with Charlotte fighting with the “Assassin from the future” in the van which ends badly for all of them: in fact, another member of the mysterious group jumps over the van and throws a shuriken at Guernica which severs his ring and little finger and causes the van to flip over. Charlotte is barely able to make it with all the wounds she has suffered and she even tries to force an almost passed out “future Assassin” to tell her who his group is and why they attacked her, but she herself Is forced to drop her interrogation to avoid Guernica getting into hemorrhagic shock.

Galina's description
After escaping and finally reaching a hideout with an allied doctor that could cure Guernica’s bleeding and Charlotte’s huge wounds, the girl finally attempts to make a report about the mission going horribly wrong. She does so by calling Kiyoshi Takakura, who is now in London along with Arend Schut Cunningham and Galina Voronina who is still training My’shell Lemaire (Galina’s description in the comic is spectacular, as you can see in the picture here on the side).

Charlotte explains – and this is what I meant by saying that the comic slowly retraces what happened during the initial action scene – that the intel that pushed the Assassins to believe they wouldn’t find anyone in the building was wrong and that it was actually guarded by this mysterious group “like an ancient curse”, which caused her and Guernica to be the only survivors. The most important and shocking news about the entire operation, though, is yet to come. Sit tight.

The enemy group had a boy with them (it’s very likely he was its leader), he had heterochromia, he had possibly a scar on the lips and when he saw Charlotte he said “Oh. It’s you. Hello again.

Once again, this comes pretty much as a big shock for the fans of the franchise as it screams “Desmond’s son” all over the place. In fact, as mentioned in file 010 of the Assassin’s Intel of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, on October 14th, 2015, Isabelle Ardant had found a ten year old kid that had all of Desmond’s ancestors in his patrilineal line and was also a sage. The best specimen for every kind of test in Abstergo and a very important legacy for every long-time fan.

Back then the kid was 10 years old and had walked with his mother in an Abstergo clinic in New York. Quite a leap from kid walking with his mother in a clinic to leader of a mysterious group of … “alternative Assassins”, in just a year. What’s more, seeing him telling Charlote “It’s you. Hello again” has a whole lot of consequences. First thing first, this is surely not something that an 11 years old kid would do or say, which means that if this really is Desmond’s son, it’s almost certain that by now his Aita part has taken over (he is even shown symbolically eating an apple). Because of this, he apparently was able to run away from his mother and to gather a group of highly skilled and trained men and take control of an Abstergo building to ambush Charlotte’s Assassin team. Also, being he controlled by Aita, it is very likely that this mysterious group is made up of Instruments of the First Will (who else would follow an 11 years old kid and kill for / with him several people, and Assassins no less?).

We’ll get back to this last element later as there’s more information about the group in the part of the comic dedicated to the Templars, but what matters the most in my opinion is the fact that Desmond’s son or, most likely, Aita, has already met Charlotte or someone that resembles her, while from the comic it is clear that she doesn’t know who the boy is. Following the idea that Aita has fully taken over the mind and body of the young boy, it’s likely that he did not actually and directly see Charlotte in the past, but rather he saw her through some calculations (in the same way that Juno and Minerva tried to foresee the future) or he saw a very early but resembling ancestor of Charlotte during the Isu era. There’s even a slight chance that it wasn’t actually Consus that talked to Charlotte during their “two” encounters but rather it was Aita: that would explain the inconsistency between Consus’ messages in 2015 and 2016 and his “final death” in 2014, although the “prophecy” of the second message may not make a lot of sense pronounced by Aita. All in all, the answer will probably lie in the next issues of Uprising so we can’t but wait for their release.

The investigation led by the Templars and Berg’s first actions as the new Black Cross

As for the Templars, in Uprising they are in an unusual “pursuit” situation. In fact, Berg and Da Costa arrive on the “crime scene” at the Abstergo compound in Hong Kong only the following morning and have to retrace what happened in it based on what is left in the building.

The "crime scene" in the Abstergo lab

From their investigation, the readers can glean that the Hong Kong building had been a Phoenix Project laboratory months before but it was dismissed as
"Thank you for discovering his fate.
His pattern will be added to my own"
such and in the intervening time it only worked as an archive. This puzzles both Berg and Da Costa as the only thing that was stolen was a partial list of Pieces of Eden that the Assassins already knew of, which may be another element proving that the mysterious group was affiliated or part of the Instruments of the First Will. In fact the Instruments and Juno are not new to scanning relevant lists of information from the Abstergo databases: in the summer and early winter of 2014 they perpetrated several attacks / security breaches in the Helix servers aimed at scanning “almost everything. Genetic memory archives, Precursors analyses, raw DDS data.” (as mentioned in the AC Unity Assassin Intel); in October / November of 2015 Juno had the protagonist of AC Syndicate, the Initiate, going through Lydia Frye’s memories to know about a Sage called “The Master Spy” and mentioned that “his pattern will be added to my own”; at the end of 2016, as mentioned earlier in the article, the Instruments tried to sniff out and analyze the data regarding André Bolden’s genetic memories about the Black Crosses and the Koh-i-Noor. These are just a few example of the Instruments always working behind the scenes to obtain information,to acquire more samples and to find more artefacts as Juno said in AC4 and then repeated in AC Unity:


Another clue that may prove that the mysterious group was, indeed, part of the Instruments of the First Will, is that Violet says that Berg may be a little paranoid about the theft of the list of Pieces of Eden, to which his boss answers that it’s his job to be paranoid, and it should be hers too. Once again, Violet may be trying to divert his boss’ attention from the Instruments’ activity and once again Otso doesn’t really seem to be convinced by her attempts. Actually, just by looking at all the times she was reprimanded by Berg for not taking the right course of action (or thoughts), it’s very likely that Berg already has some really solid suspicions about her. If that were true, it doesn’t look good for Violet in the next issues of the comic.

"Charred bodies holding
Hidden Blades"
The theft of the list of Pieces of Eden isn’t the only thing that Berg and Da Costa were investigating on. In fact, when they get to the building they also find it was put to fire and that before it, there had been a skirmish between several people. This leads Da Costa to (intentionally?) hypothesize that, based on the charred bodies and especially the ones holding Hidden Blades, some Assassins turned against others from the same cell, as it happened in the past, but Berg is against that idea as such thing never happened during a mission. “Mid mission? Not even Assassins are that lacking in discipline”.

Another major element regarding the “crime scene” is that everything was organized. In fact, as mentioned by Violet, the attack happened during the Dragon Boat Festival, when many employees were home, and the security officer that took care of the building was found garroted in his bathtub (possibly the mysterious group did it to put one of them in his place to grant them entrance). As pointed out to me by our Hephaestus, the reference to the Dragon Boat Festival helps us a lot in contextualizing the events in Uprising. Considering that the previews for Uprising #2 show that the events in that issue take place on the American Election Day (November 8th, 2016) the festival, and thus the events Uprising #1 necessarily happened on June 9 and June 10, 2016. Which is funny considering that more than one character are wearing a fur collar as part of their attire.

Not being able to find more information with Violet, Berg decides to leave the crime scene, telling her he’s going back to his hotel and this is where we finally see him for the first time working as a Black Cross. To be more specific, on his way to the hotel, he finds on the ground a pair of very
The hi-tech goggles found by
Berg (they even recognize him)
hi-tech goggles that emanate a thin blue light, the same ones used by the heavily equipped Assassin that chased Charlotte and was later pinned down by her.

Berg is very surprised to see such a piece of high tech on the ground but is even more shocked to see that they are “Abstergo Skunkworks Division’s $ 350,000 prototype military goggles” . So, not only Abstergo has a “Skunkworks Division” - it may very well be another name for the Research & Development one - but what matters the most here is that the mysterious group was using some very rare and expensive Abstergo technology and wearing Assassin equipment and insignias (more on that later).

Berg’s position of Grand Master and member of the Inner Sanctum (as well as Black Cross) apparently allows him to do everything as not only he does not report finding the goggles, but “cannibalizes” them to improve the ones he is going to use along with his Black Cross equipment. Thus, finally, the last pages of the comic showcase the new attire for Berg’s Black Cross.

The new attire of the Black Cross in 2017

Aaand I have to say, as a very personal judgment, it seems a bit “too much”, and a bit too over the top compared to the elegance that the other Black Crosses shown in the Templars comic. To a degree, though, it’s sort of understandable because of the high tech equipment needed for his role, a “slight step up” from what was used by the past Black Crosses, using Berg’s words. He’s wearing what seems to be a bullet-proof chest armor, leather gauntlets, a long coat with a fur collar, a military flight cap and a mouth covering bandana (if it’s a way to hide his identity, it’s not doing a great job as his peculiar scar is clearly visible). As for his more practical equipment, the comic shows three interesting items: a pair of yellow glasses (the ones he built by using components from the military goggles), a rope launcher that is very similar to the ones shown in Syndicate, and a pair of earpieces through which Berg is able to talk to the only person he can trust with the knowledge of his “second identity”: André Bolden.

André Bolden is back to support
Berg in his new and secret role
As Uprising shows, André makes a comeback from the Templars comics, even if at the end of the series it seemed like he had left Berg to follow his own path alone (“This ain’t my war, Otso. I can’t be a part of what you do”). In Uprising André provides Berg with tactical support from a secluded place and is able to hear and see what he does thanks to his earpieces and goggles (which means that someone else was watching through the military glasses of the “futuristic Assassin” that chased Charlotte?).

In the last pages of Uprising Berg, dressed up as the Black Cross, decides to go back to the crime scene at the Abstergo building to analyze it on his own without anyone checking on him. In his personal investigation Berg checks three places where three victims once stood and gleans that one was killed by an Abstergo standard issue crossbow, the second was killed “efficiently” by snapping her neck and the third one had her carotid severed by what seemed to be an Assassin Hidden Blade… but there’s an issue with the last one. The blood spattered by the victim isn’t as much as it should be, which makes Berg realize that the wound was cauterized as it was being made, by a superheated blade. In his words, “Assassin weapon… Abstergo tech”.

Thus the comic ends with André and Berg being doubtful about Abstergo and the Assassins working together without anyone knowing, which, I have to say, is another, though less likely, way to describe the turmoil at the Hong Kong lab in case the Instruments of the First Will option isn’t going to be true.

In fact, this would explain how the mysterious group had the training and fighting techniques of the Assassins while using Assassin weapons and equipment powered by Abstergo technology. In that case, though, who would be behind this unholy alliance if not even Berg, a member of the Inner Sanctum, knows about it? And why would Desmond’s son be in the midst of it?
The idea of the Assassins teaming up with the Templars was also part of Consus’ prophecy from the Assassin’s Creed comics series, but then again, Charlotte was meant to be the shepherd while as of now she is as clueless as she can be.

Conversely, while I still believe it’s more likely that the mysterious group was affiliated or part of the Instruments of the First Will, this hypothesis bears some questions of its own. Did the Instruments of the First Will get so deep in the Templar Order to find a way to steal or produce for themselves Templar tech like that? And what about the Assassins? Were the Instruments able to infiltrate the Brotherhood too to get their fighting skills as well? That would surely be a first, especially considering that Juno had described the Brotherhood with some pretty harsh words in the past: “Corrupted. Short-sighted. Their purpose is fulfilled. The Assassins must die”.

It's finally time to see what the Instruments are capable of

I guess that for now all we have to do is wait and see how the events will unfold, especially considering that the teaser for issue #2 mentions Berg taking his investigation directly to the Inner Sanctum and causing unease among its members (will he mention he has taken the role of the Black Cross?) while Charlotte will apparently suffer from a fragile mental state and may lose the grip on reality (that is so NOT like her).

And that is the end of our analysis for now! What do you think about the details we discussed above? Do you have different opinions about the direction of the narrative in Uprising? What did you like and dislike about it?

Let us know in the comments!

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Juno's appearance in Russia

So brash, so young