By Ben Snyder
With the enticing concept of Angels and Demons playing a shadow war using humans as their tools, Sacred Creatures #1 almost reeks of a Hellblazer rip off including a blonde man who seems to have all of the spiritual answers. However, Sacred Creatures does enough in its storytelling and aesthetics to set it apart from the other would be clones and inspire hope for the ongoing series.
Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson let the story unravel in a very interesting way by basically showing how mild-mannered everyman Josh Miller’s life goes to hell with the span of five days. By introducing the seemingly evil family members one at a time and seeing how Josh interacted with them in the past allowed each of the members to shine individually while keeping them mysterious. I loved how the reader is unsure of what the family exactly is, demon, hellspawn, or anything else even until the end, despite the fact that Father Adrian is seemingly the guide of Josh Miller. Raimondi and Janson provide a great storytelling vessel in Josh Miller and the reader truly does feel for him and the hell the shadowy family puts him through.
There is some clutter as to who each of the family members are specifically and what their individual powers are, but that is understandable considering their limited introductions. Personally, I wish Raimondi and Janson saved some of the family members reveal for later issues instead of them throwing everything at the reader at once, but this method would have also taken away from the amazing cliffhanger that ties everything together at the end. The cliffhanger is a scene that while not totally unfounded given the events in the issue evokes enough mystery that fuels the anticipation for the next issue.
Pablo Raimondi pulls double duty and also does the art for this issue and delivers. There are some very stylistic and flashy panels that do a great job of fleshing out the characters and their motives subtly whether it is Josh Miller’s blood-soaked face of utter confusion in the mirror or the presumed leader of the family’s face’s reflection hanging over the New York City Skyline. The line and figure work are exceptional, and the faces adequately convey emotion. Some characters such as Josh’s fiancée look a bit off however due to lack of detail. Perhaps this signals their decreased significance in further issues, but still, it is semi-noticeable.
Raimondi does two interesting things in particular regarding the art. One is the increasing deterioration of Miller. Eventually, he resembles a legitimate ghoul as he assaults someone he wrongfully accuses of stealing his bike. I am interested in how Raimondi explains why Miller’s veins become black after exposure to the family. Perhaps this effect will continue to show throughout the story as the family’s influence still hangs over Josh. The other thing Raimondi does is showing all of Miller’s regrets in stylized red blocks clouding over the main narrative. This does an adequate job of highlighting the regret and anxiety Josh is filling in the narrative.
While showing some shades of its influences, Sacred Creatures #1 does a great job of introducing its intriguing villains and heroes as the stakes for a legitimate holy war seemingly rage on for many future issues.
Sacred Creatures #1