Yield: The Rite Of Way

Aug 2, 2023


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Once upon a time it was believed that sustenance and survival required persistent pursuit of approval, often in the form of ritualistic tribute, from some universal providers.  Nowadays, it is impossible to get someone to let you merge safely onto the highway. The Sacrificers #1 transports readers to a world where the creatures still understand they are living on a prayer.  And that unto those who are given, much is required.  

The Sacrificers #1

Image Comics

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Max Fiumara
Color Artist: Dave McCaig
Letter: Rus Wooton

The Sacrificers #1 begins with a solemn setting.  Against the backdrop of a full moon peaking from behind a mountainside we come upon a humble home just as the head of the household is giving grace.  The words resonate with reverence, emphasizing the magnificence of the beings who provide for their livelihood.  However, peering into a lit window we discover this is not a human habitat.  Instead a family of bluebirds sits around the table, hands clasped as the patriarch gives thanks for their daily bread.  Though this does set up this series to be a bit surreal, seeing a robin say thank you may offer an indication of this tale’s larger theme.

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The sudden sound of a twig snapping outside brings Pa’s prayer to an abrupt end, sending him into a fury.  The entire family looks out the window to discover they have an audience.  In one fluid motion the father rushes out of the house and begins to unbuckle his belt.   Discovering the culprit cowering in the barn the riled up father deals with his “spoiled” child.  Artist Max Fiumara doesn’t spare details, nor the rod, with flashes of feathers flying through the air at each belt strike. Ending the beating as quickly as it began the exiting parent turns to call his son selfish. However, later that night a younger bird Beatrice, the only family member named this issue, slips in to offer the wounded bird something to eat. As she comforts her sibling she utters just two words – Thank You.  

The Sacrificers, from Image Comics, is the creation of writer Rick Remender and artist Max Fiumara.  The series transports readers to a world or universe that, although populated by abnormal anthropomorphic creatures, has notes of familiarity with our own.  There is even the sense the story takes place prior to or at mankind’s earliest days. Especially once what appears to be existence’s primordial rulers show up in the story’s second act.

When we first meet Soluna she is waiting for the bell to toll. As the chimes sound, signaling the end to her studies, the fiery haired young woman rushes through the castle.  Rushing down a stairwell, she passes a large portrait which Dave McCaig uses to display a much younger Soluna.  In the next second she, and readers, come upon the individual’s lap Soluna was sitting on in the painting.  There is no question that she got her hair from her father Rokos.  The towering creature consists almost entirely of fire. Fiumara cleverly uses his regal adornments to give Rokos shape and a mask gives the appearance of a formidable face.

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Eavesdropping on Rokos’ conversation with his mistress Xia, we discover that a soured relationship between Rokos and Soluna’s mother, Luna, may have something to do with what she was studying when we first met her.  And as boring as it was for her to study, it seems even more of a burden for Rokos to bear.  In Rokos, Rick Remender captures a coldness and lack of enthusiasm when it comes to service.  Much like his conversation with Xia there is a lack of passion for what his position both offers and requires of him. It isn’t something he wants to do or be part of, it is something he has to do. 

By giving readers a look between the worlds the series opener offers a brief understanding of the cruel complexities those who exist in the sky above endure.  Seated upon his throne, Rokos starts the cycle on a new dawn as McCaig transforms him into a gigantic fireball. One that fills the sky below.   

This starts a bright new day for which the bluebird family should give thanks.  Instead it is one which is very dark for this family, giving readers a better understanding of the title of this series.  The Sacrificers #1 serves as an odd world recounting to the timeless dynamic between deities and those who dutifully follow their decrees.  It presents the cosmos along with the concept that reality and life are not without a price; a cost.  That being part of existence requires coming to appreciate what has been given unto you.  

And what you are asked to give.    

Score: 8.5