By Pablo Raimondi, Klaus Janson, and Chris Chuckry
This is the first creator-owned title for both Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson. Sacred Creatures has a premise that does seem oddly similar to several comics out in the marketplace: a conspiracy or power struggle between supernatural forces begins to unfold and a normal man, Josh Miller, becomes embroiled in this dark world and struggles to break free from it. See, I wasn’t kidding. With books like The Wicked + The Divine, Hellblazer or even Fables already around, this book seemed like a dangerous proposition. That said, supernatural comics have been known to have similar premises yet deeply unique storylines and perspectives. Sadly, this is not one of those times…
This is a double-sized debut issue with 66 pages of content. This would have been plenty of time to really delve into the core of the story, instead audiences are given a ridiculously drawn out exposition that doesn’t leave readers with a strong sense of who the main players are, except for Josh Miller. Yet, one still won’t feel an emotional connection with Miller because Raimondi and Janson keep him going from one thing to the next, with no breathing room to really delve into the character’s psyche and so he and, in turn, the readers can process what is unfolding. The writers spend an inordinate amount of time presenting the archetype of the everyman and trying to help people understand why he makes certain choices, but ultimately it drags the book and by the end if the issue, no one cares. What was the point of have an oversized issue, if the audience has no better understanding of the plot than when they opened up the book?
There is also an imbalance in terms of character development. There is so much time devoted to Josh that the supernatural characters are shoehorned in and presented in quick succession. Again showing a systematic problem with pacing. To make matters worse, they seemed to be the far more interesting characters. It would have been better to have only one or two play a key role in this issue and really about them and the personality and continue that pattern with the others in forthcoming issues. While on the subject of characters, there is a blatant rip-off of John Constantine. There is a priest with an attitude who combating the dark forces surrounding Josh Miller and even has a trenchcoat. Raimondi couldn’t have given him another outfit?
Now, Pablo Raimondi is able to create some solid character designs. Every single character feels distinct, even in their facial expressions. That’s perhaps the slight saving grace of the comic. His backgrounds are very detailed and lived in, giving much for the audience to take in and try to make them an active participant in the story. The main problem with the artwork is how the characters stand out so much in the foreground of the panels, as if they were just placed into the image after the backgrounds were completed. This is possible through digital artwork and the coloring only serves to further that separation of the foreground and background in the panels. Chris Chuckry colors the characters so vividly and that they stand out dramatically and don’t feel a part of the overall image. If some more shading or shadows had been used, specifically in the daylight scenes, the blending would have seamless. Instead, readers are presented with some major eyesores throughout the issue and break the experience and flow.
This all may sound overly critical or even mean, but these are talented creators and ones who have been around the block in the business on top of that. They have the potential to create something truly original, not something as derivative as Sacred Creatures. Perhaps this issue was just a misstep and they were still finding their footing. That’s entirely possible, but it can greatly affect how the book will do in terms of sales. If supernatural comics is up your alley and you aren’t very discerning, then, sure, check this comic out. Otherwise, it’s one to pass by on the sales rack.