Openings are fascinating, especially in the creator-owned space where readers enter into a completely new world and have to find something to hang onto. Sometimes there’s a learning curve and the book takes a while to center itself on its feet. Sometimes it hits the ground running and the reader has to play catch up. Sometimes you’re lured in and fall under its spell, in a way that you’re not even fully aware you’ve been sucked in.
Sacrificers #1, the latest from writer Rick Remender (Black Science, Deadly Class, Uncanny X-Force) and artist Max Fiumara (Lucifer) is the latter of those options. It opens on a beautiful full page image of a home beneath what looks like a smiling moon. You can’t help but lean in because Fiumara has established so much in a single image. It’s a fairy tale opening with some sort of prayer being spoken over the next couple pages. It works so well that, by the time you see the family of these bird-like people, they don’t seem alien. You feel at home.
Then the drama escalates, and you’re along for the ride in this frantic sequence that forces you through the pages as fast as you can turn. That’s the Remender effect. He’s excellent at books that feel like there’s a jetpack strapped to them. (see Black Science)
When you get to the title page of Sacrificers, ten pages in, there’s a firm hold on your heart. You care about these bird-people. The fairy tale elements continue after the title page when we meet a young woman spying on her parents. Is there anything more endearing? The scene reveals a ton about her and her parents, but so much of it is information you push to the back of your mind and just continue on to see what happens next. All of this happens as you’re staring at striking Fiumara images delicately colored by Dave McCaig, which just continues Remender’s streak of expertly paired creative teams. Everything comes to a head when you reach the next scene and see the character designs of the people that come to call on the blue birds.
Remender tends to be a wordy writer. Here like in some of his more recent work he is letting the art lead the way, and it’s great. Fiumara is not wasting any of the space granted to him. As far as first issues go, Sacrificers #1 one is hugely effective– it’s a glimpse into a world that demands further exploration. There’s enough clarity in the characters present to feel an attachment, and yet there is still plenty to wonder about. While the issue does harken back to the creators previous works, this is different enough to be utterly captivating.