Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Pablo Raimondi, Klaus Janson
Artists: Pablo Raimondi, Chris Chuckry
Release Date: 9th August 2017
I’m always game for new and exciting fantasy series. Fantasy is often cruelly under-represented in today’s sci-fi leaning comic landscape, particularly when it comes to contemporary fantasy. We’ve had fits and burst over the last few years – but nothing that’s really properly broken out of its niche to become something more. And unfortunately, after reading the first two issues of this latest book from Image, we’re still yet to see that come to fruition.
Telling the story of Josh, a young man who’s having trouble sleeping, getting a job and keeping up with his university course. That is, until he comes into contact with a strange, dishevelled woman, who causes him to sleep nearly uncontrollably. Things spiral out of control from there, as it turns out she’s one of the Seven Deadly Sins, who’re out to rid themselves of their angel overlords.
The art is where the series falls apart ever so slightly. At first glance, there’s a veneer of quality here – a curious stylised realism, with almost impossibly fine and detailed line work. But as you read further and further into the series, it becomes more and more unsettling, sliding deeper and deeper into the uncanny valley. And then there’s a single panel where it suddenly dawns on you – is that… Alan Cumming?
Then you go back, and you can see the photo reference actor for each and every character. Jamie Bell. Djimon Hounsou. Tilda Swinton. A veritable who’s who of global film stars. Heck, Sean Penn turns up as a goddamn random henchman. It’s remarkable, really. But once you see it, you can’t unsee it, and it immediately pulls you out of what little immersion the narrative had managed to plunge you in to. It becomes a really difficult, distracting read, and brings the craftsmanship of the rest of the book into question. Yes, I know, photo reference is commonly used – but you when it’s borderline tracing famous actors’ faces, you’ve gone a bit too far, y’know? It’s not quite as bad as those godawful 24 comics and their ‘photoshop Kiefer Sutherlands head on top of the art’ approach, but it’s not exactly Bolland either.
Which is a shame, because the story itself could become something truly intriguing, despite relying on a whole host of fairly standard heavenly tropes that could well have been plucked straight out of Supernatural. But still, it’s strongly woven together, even if the dialogue can become a bit too wordy at points, crowding out what’s going on in the scene.
At the end of issue 2, I’m struggling to conjure a proper recommendation – a half-decent fantasy story, let down by what seems to be an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes with the art. If you’re jonesing for a supernatural fix, by all means, swipe it up, but for now – and at least until the story reaches what may or may not be its satisfying conclusion – it’s one to avoid.
If you want to find out more about SACRED CREATURES, you can check out our interview with Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson by CLICKING HERE.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24