Review: Sacrifice (Hardcover)

I’ve actually avoid this series for a while. I knew that if I went in with all the hype surrounding it that I would be disappointed by it instantly. It’s just what happens when something that’s praised to the high heavens falls into my lap. I tend to be a harsher critic of it because it feels like so many others are giving it a free pass; Like a game of telephone, but everyone cranks up the praise. So I waited and that was for the best. I didn’t fall in love with this story and that’s okay. It was still a decent read and definitely one of those stories that you’d only ever find in a comic book. It doesn’t have big screen appeal and it’ll just be one of those gems the remains in the medium. The story is actually easy to sum up. It’s about a guy named Hector who is afflicted by seizures and has checked himself out of a mental hospital. He grabs some food with the friend that picked him up, but has another attack. This time he’s sent back into the past to the times of the Aztecs and the city of Tenochtitlan. We spend some time seeing him adjust to the era and speaking to the Aztecs which is never really explained. There are several times that characters note that they can’t understand Hector, but overall he’s able to communicate and that’s really not explained unless I missed one throwaway piece of info or Hector was just a really fast learner. Anyways he plays an intricate role in the final days of the Aztecs before the Spanish arrive.

Sacrifice CoverThe story basically goes in a circle. I didn’t find it “trippy” but I can see how the ending and the time travelling seizures would leave others to think that. Frankly the ending was kind of “meh” as it took the easy way out and painted the picture of a new reality existing. There are also a lot of details about Hector that aren’t revealed to us until later on in the story that come across as convenient reveals. If the reader had the same knowledge earlier the story would have ended much sooner. The dialog is overbearing at times and at other times feels like a history lesson. I’m definitely not one to shy away from history in comics, but it was the constant repetition of details that made it come across more like an internet search than true research.

I’m also going to let you in on a secret; I’m not a big fan of Sam Humphries writing. I actually forgot he wrote this until the second chapter and then it dawned on me. The issue I have with his storytelling is that rather than being absorbed into the story I’m left waiting for particular scenes to end. It’s like they carry on a bit too long which makes me uninterested, but I struggled through until the next scene because it’s a comic and you don’t want to miss anything. Overall though his writing is better here than on his corporate stuff i.g. Boom and Marvel. The dialogue wasn’t captivating and I couldn’t tell you a single character that I liked or cared about. Hector is plays the victim the entire issue and when he finally does something you want to smack your forehead because it’s just foolish young man pretending to be smarter than he is.

The art is definitely a saving grace, but Dalton Roses work has vastly improved since this series. If you were to compare Sacrifice with Theremin you would be able to see the difference almost instantly. Even still Rose brings his distinct character designs with the hard facial features and boxy frames. For me I really enjoy his character designs. They’re familiar to other styles and comics I’ve read, but still remain their own. The coloring isn’t as vibrant as it is with Theremin, but there is a wide assortment of colors used especially toward the end of the series.

Considering this was basically made by two guys it’s pretty good; It’s not the mind-blowing experience that it was hyped up to be, but at least it didn’t end in utter disappointment like so many other over hyped series have. If hardcovers are your thing then I would check it out, but personally I think this is more of a trade or digital purchase.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Sam Humphries Artist: Dalton Rose Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $19.99 Release Date: 9/3/13