Having thoroughly enjoyed the novelization of the Assassin’s Creed movie, I opted to take another look at the literature of the games. Again, I haven’t played a single one, though I have a friend who does tell me about all the crazy machinations going on behind and around the regressions. Said friend is a bit behind, though perhaps my recent babbling may have an effect.
Anyway, the novelization advertised another book, this one in the universe of the games, also by Christie Golden. Since I’d enjoyed her work with the one book, I opted to give her another shot and picked up Assassin’s Creed: Heresy. It’s not the longest book in the world, so I wasn’t surprised at how quickly it flew by.
Simon Hathaway is a Templar and has just become the new ninth member of the Inner Sanctum. His goal is to use the Animus to visit the life of his ancestor who knew Joan of Arc. Joan was rumored to possess a MacGuffin sword, now in the hands of our favorite villian Alan Rikkin, but no one can make it function. Simon proposes that by viewing a time when they knew the sword to work, he will be able to restore it.
However, as is par for the course in a story like this, nothing is as it seems. There are both Assassins and Templars and nobody’s safe. Not even in present day London where Simon lives and works.
I was greatly hindered in reading Heresy by two major factors. First and foremost is my unfamiliarity with the games and their storyline. There was enough information for me to piece together the data I hadn’t been exposed to previously, but this necessity robbed me of some of the easy enjoyment I had with the book. But however interesting it might be, I am still not going to put hundreds of hours of my life into these games. I may try again if I can find an older book, relating to or based on the original game, but I will be more careful about what sorts of novelizations I pick up.
For me, the point of novelizations is to explore a world I already enjoy in greater detail, to see the scenes that got cut and to gain a better appreciation of the characters’ perspective. This is why the Power Rangers novelization that basically followed the same script as the final cut of the film was so disappointing.
The other major problem with Heresy is the classic self-publishing problem. And no, this book wasn’t technically self-published…Ubisoft did it. But Ubisoft makes video games, not books. And boy, does it show. Missing section breaks, extraneous quotation marks, text that should have been italicized, paragraphs starting in the middle of sentences from their predecessors, and the most blatant typo I have ever seen in my life. No really, there’s a sentence that reads “His hands were damfvfvGabriel gasped.” I just…ugh. This is the sort of thing that should have been caught by an editor. Or a beta reader. Or better yet both. I beta read four books for my friend and not a single one of them had anything that bad. Hell, the only kind of spelling error I remember is an unusual word or name and asking which way she wanted to spell it because it’s stupid to use more than one.
I really do despise spelling and grammar errors in books, even though they show up in even the most professionally produced novels. I catch them and they jerk me out of my immersion, sometimes to a point where I can’t ever regain that same closeness with the story. Which is a damned shame, because there’s a number of books that don’t deserve to be dragged down by something so stupid.
Overall, Heresy was fine. I couldn’t get as deeply into it as with the novelization for the above reasons, and Simon was an okay protagonist if a little bland. I think I better enjoyed the present-day conflicts in the movie/novelization created by the protagonist being an Assassin among Templars, instead of Simon being a rather important Templar among his own Order. I’ve certainly read worse books, although that typo really takes the cake as far as typos go.
You could say “once burned, twice shy,” but I don’t think I’m done with novelizations, nor do I think I’m done with Assassin’s Creed. My friend pointed out how the science is utter nonsense, that you can’t use the DNA of your ancestors to experience their memories, but it’s still a cool concept. Remember, any fictional story has a “gimme”, one fact that the reader (or player, or viewer) will accept without question and the DNA regression is Assassin’s Creed’s. There’s some bizarre other elements, but this is what the story is based on and wouldn’t function without.
But as I intimated, Heresy wasn’t a particularly difficult book to get through and left me with plenty of time to read something else. And the time had most definitely come to revisit something I’ve left hanging for months. That’s right, today I finally read more Power Rangers comic books. You may recall I was waiting to get my hands on a copy of this year’s annual, because it was listed as being part of the Shattered Grid event. I suspected that there’d be important event-related stories in there, so I didn’t want to skip ahead. Unfortunately, my local comic shop has been sold out and no matter how many times I’ve asked, nothing’s come in. So, I gave up and went to ebay. It was more expensive, but definitely better than waiting for things to come out in trade paperback.
To be clear, that means today I read Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #24-27, Go Go Power Rangers #8-9, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2018 Annual, and the special Free Comic Book Day edition of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. That’s eight separate issues. I read them in the order suggested by the Shattered Grid event checklist at the back of MMPR #25: 24, 25, 8, 26, Annual, 9, FCBD, 27. And oh my goodness there is SO much going on!
First and foremost, I was rereading MMPR #24-25 and GGPR #8. 24 and 8 are prelude issues for their respective series, and 25 was the one that kicked everything off because, of course, the franchise is now twenty-five years old. And I remember putting issue 25 down on that cliffhanger wonder, hoping against hope, and only able to wait until I finally read further.
There were two parts to that cliffhanger. One, a character death that has some repercussions in the issues immediately following, but by the end of 27 the grief has been pushed aside in favor of some much bigger problems. The other, the appearance of Jen Scott, the pink Time Force ranger. We do see the Time Force rangers, in their Megazord, at the opening of the issue. And because they are Time Force, we know they have the ability to time travel. (Admittedly they didn’t do a huge amount of that in their tv series, but whatever. Time travel is dangerous.) But there’s something so exciting about a crossover, even within the same universe. That’s why every television season since Lost Galaxy has had a team up with the previous season. That’s why the tenth anniversary special with all ten red rangers happened. That’s why there was footage on youtube as soon as someone in Japan decided to do a massive battle scene with every single sentai from every single season to date.
Jen gets to be exposition girl and explain that something is breaking – shattering – the grid of reality. We can easily guess at who is responsible based on what’s happened thus far, and our guesses are borne out. We see attacks on the Samurai rangers, on Ninja Steel, Jungle Fury, Dino Thunder, SPD, RPM, Space…and more. Sure, there are some seasons I haven’t seen yet but am keeping an eye out for like my favorite Lost Galaxy and Mystic Force, but I have no doubt that they’re coming.
There are glimpses and stories and twists and turns galore as Shattered Grid turns the world as we knew it upside down, and I am loving it. I also noticed that even the inside cover of Go Go Power Rangers is shattering, even if it’s Angel Grove High School’s seal and not the ranger diamond pattern. There’s just so much attention to detail and I love it. I love that this was all created by people who love Power Rangers every bit as much as I do, if not more.
In fact, all the crossovers almost make me want to go and watch those series I never touched. Almost. That’s no small time commitment (time that I could better spend reading) and frankly…a lot of episodes are dumb and obnoxious. Every season has its filler, and some are worse than most. Part of that is the target audience’s age, but part of that is the fact that Power Rangers has always been fairly wholesome television. I just don’t choose to sit through innumerable half hour episodes to pick up two or five minutes of plot here and there.
I will mention that the Free Comic Book Day issue is the one that actually touches on the first time Zach, Kim, Billy, Trini, and Jason became Power Rangers, offers a brief summary of current events, and some food for thought about the future. It seemed like a rather long FCBD entry, but then I remembered that so many of those freebies actually contain two stories, the better to entice money out of consumer’s pockets as they pick up more than one series. But there’s only the two Power Rangers series at this time, so Boom! Studios was able to use all of that space to hook readers into not only their more limited number of series, but also to plunge them right into the Shattered Grid event.
I’m still not thrilled about that change in art style between MMPR 24 and 25, but I didn’t take too much more notice today, absorbed as I was in getting through all eight issues and finding out what happens next. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen to the world(s) of Power Rangers once the event resolves, but I am certain that it’s taking the franchise in a direction that could never have been envisioned twenty-five years ago.