Sacred Creatures #1,
Pablo Raimondi, Klaus Janson,
Kicking off its run with a double-sized issue, Raimondi and Janson’s Sacred Creatures is an intriguing beast (all the more so for making this first issue longer – good call). Opening with what looks at first like some sort of executive meeting in a towering block overlooking the Manhattan skyline, we quickly see that this is not a group of corporate executives – it looks more like a family: men, women, older, younger, and one who is just a boy. At least as far as appearances go. Rich family group? Perhaps, but not the regular rich Manahattanite social darlings with a trust fund, there is something odd, something uncanny about this family. Although one thing they do seem to have in common with regular families is the bickering between them. They are planning something.
We then meet Josh Miller and his other half, heavily pregnant, Josh desperately hoping his upcoming interview at the museum will land him a dream job before the baby comes. This couple in their small apartment with everyday money and child worries couldn’t be more different from the family group we saw in the opening pages, but they are about to overlap. For some reason they are interested in Josh, and the different family members take in turn to start meddling in his life, which rapidly disintegrates into a mess, personally and professionally. And that’s the least of his worries, because he’s soon involved in a murder and the theft of an ancient artefact, attracting the attention of the police, the family and a mysterious preacher, Father Adrian, who is also somewhat more than he appears…
I don’t want to go into more plot details for fear of spoilers, but will say we’ve all seen plenty of “ordinary person caught up in weird circumstances” fantasy tales before – but Sacred Creatures managed to side-step the more clichéd aspects of those stories and offer up something a bit different. Structurually the narrative is broken up with numerous flashbacks to the events which lead up to what we are seeing, and while this is a good way of giving the reader background information, it also serves to break up the present-day narrative flow in a way that somewhat mimics Josh’s increasingly fragmented world-view as he tries to make sense of what has been done to him and what is happening.
Raimondi’s art works nicely, especially some of the characters – the youngest member of the family comes over particularly well, Raimondi imbuing him simultaneously with an almost angelic innocence to his child face, but also mixing this with the creepy menace of the Children of the Damned. Although one thing I didn’t like was the use of photographic backgrounds for a few scenes; to my eye they jarred badly with the drawn characters in them, but thankfully this was only a few panels. Janson and Raimondi give us a good chunk of bait in this double-sized opener, but they also, wisely only give us so much – we’re still left wondering quite what this family is? Immortals? Vampires? Mages? Something even stranger? And what is it they want, and why are they using Josh? And that’s what you want from a first issue, sufficient background to let you have some handle on what is going on, but leaving out enough that you are hooked in and need to read the following issues.