Compelling, unique and fully immersive world building is the name of the game from master storytellers Rick Remender and Max Fiumara’s ‘The Sacrificers’.
New from Image Comics, The Sacrificers is a beautifully written and stunningly drawn sci-fi fantasy that will quench your thirst for the unique and the fantastic.
From its opening pages, The Sacrificers thrusts readers into a brutal and unforgiving world. In this world, an unnamed protagonist, born to a father who would rather not be associated with him, is tasked with maintaining the least desirable aspects of his family farm. Split into three scenes, issue one first explores our protagonist’s relatively silent family dynamic exemplified by Rick Remender‘s collaborative efforts with artist Max Fiumara and colorist Dave McCaig. This experience should put readers on notice: You will NOT be spoon-fed every detail in this story, and based on Remender’s letter on the final page of the issue, it will probably stay that way.
A tale of two worlds.
In contrast, Scene Two of the issue introduces us to named characters, and this is worth noting. A royal family seemingly responsible for controlling much of the world and/or universe, their names sit juxtaposed to the nameless we’ve met in Scene One. Where Scene One’s players are the silent and laborious nameless of this world’s dust bowl, Scene Two gives us the outspoken and fiery (literally) princess Soluna, her father Rokos, and her father’s mistress, Xia. Moreover, what we learn from this scene leads us to believe that not all is well in the world of the powerful, either. Though Soluna has her own plans for how she sees her future, Rokos is very much only interested in the future he intends to build for her.
What’s fun about this world is how different it is compared to the world of the unnamed. Where little dialogue existed in the first several pages of the issue, once we meet Soluna’s family, there is plenty to read. Fiumara and Dave McCaig also give readers their money’s worth, as the cool blues and browns from the previous pages are dashed to bits when we meet the royals, a family of seemingly powerful elementals who bask in a world of fire and flame. Strangely enough, as abstract as the characters may seem, readers may feel like they’ve known places like this for most of their lives thanks to the worldbuilding of this creative team.
Finally, Scene Three closes the issue and presents the reader with a sense of dread when the worlds of the previous two scenes collide. Representatives (perhaps?) of Rokos have arrived on the farm of the unnamed, and they have come to make a claim: The oldest born son of the family — a Sacrifice. And thus, our story begins.
Not a fan of fantasy? Not a problem!
Full disclosure here: I’m not fond of sci-fi fantasy that’s too abstract, and yet, I found myself wholly invested in the stories of both the unnamed boy who must be sacrificed to save his family and the young Soluna who appears desperate to have a say in her future. Remender lays down a masterclass at drawing in the reader with as little language as possible while allowing his collaborators to shine and do much of the heavy lifting. As a result, readers may find themselves in a state of joyous curiosity as they move from one page to the next. The Sacrificers is a reminder of why creator-owned comics are so important, and it’s a perfect example of what good storytelling can do. Go buy this book. Now.
Editor’s note: If you’re a fan of high quality fantasy then check out @morgan-simmons’ review of The Hunger and the Dusk #1!