On Wednesday, 1st February, Titan Comics will release Assassin's Creed: Uprising issue number one - the start of a brand new comic series.
I'm not particularly interested in Assassin's Creed lore, nor the comics. But when it was brought to my attention that one of the comic book's pages depicts a few modern day Londoners, I was interested to see how the writers played it, being a born and bred Londoner myself.
It turns out, the dialect is... interesting to say the least.
Let's run through it. The first panel shows The Shard in the skyline, so we're in London Bridge territory. Where, exactly? It's hard to tell. There's a dash of the ol' Chim chiminey / Chim chiminey / Chim chim cher-ee! to the rooftops, so perhaps we're south of the river (the best side), where the people are real and the chimneys realer.
Now, onto the dialogue. We see a few characters parkouring their way across London. "Yes! Sick! That was peak, Faiz!" A strong opening. Use of the word "peak" to mean outstanding makes sense here, even if no-one in the real world says it outside of the playground.
Faiz responds: "Innit. Been on that cat leap for time, blud."
Ah, the "innit, blud" phrase all Londoners know and love. Blud, by the way, is what you call your mate, a mate so close they're your blood brother, or "bredrin". Yes, some Londonders do talk this way. Good slang, Assassin's Creed comic.
The slang continues:
"You go, Shannon."
"Naaah mate, Shan won't jump. Girl's a victim."
Let's pause right here. "Naaah mate" is strong London slang (note the correct use of three As). I often use it myself when I'm back home and my brother's just said something stupid about football, as he often does. He followed the Irish half of the family and supports Liverpool. We always said he was adopted.
"Hushamouf, Alex" Shan retorts. "Frontin' like yous a badman."
Let's ignore the hilarious use of "hushamouf" here - a word I've only ever heard used in the real world in jest - and move on to "frontin' like yous a badman". Now that's strong London slang right there, lifted, no doubt, from the kind of real world Friday night scrap commonly witnessed while one is buying a gourmet pterodactyl wing from the high street's finest fried chicken shop.
"Victim, cuz," Alex stresses. "Y' get me?" "Cuz", like "blud", indicates a strong friendship, so strong that the two are related like cousins. "Y' get me?", though, indicates there's a bit of needle brewing. It's a phrase often used to bully your way through a conversation. I smell a potential scrap.
Shan, determined to prove her worth, spits, a vicious act that carries an £80 on the spot fine from the London Borough of Southwark.
"Yeh? Back up, brah," she says, readying a death-defying leap ("brah is yet another mate replacement").
Then, suddenly, Shan stops in her tracks, a stunned look on her face. Alex, puzzled, unleashes the page's crowning moment: "Oi, Shan! Wagwan!"
"Oh. My. Days."
Perhaps the dialogue wouldn't be quite so bad if the London slang had been used in a subtle way, but it feels like every speech bubble is at pains to come up with yet another phrase seemingly lifted from the Rough Guide to South London. We're in London! This is how people speak, innit. Slap slap slap goes the comic across the reader's face.
I shouldn't take the piss too much. I'm an ex-South Londoner who now lives in Brighton, so my street days are well and truly over (RIP Ceasars. Streatham will never be the same again). The last chicken shop I frequented was Rios in Croydon. And that's hardly a proper chicken shop. They have an online menu and everything.
My point is this: yes, this Assassin's Creed comic's London, England page is hilarious, particularly so if you're from London, but it's great to see Ubisoft once again show its penchant for multiculturalism. London, baby. It's peak.
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