A #1 from a comic book series should wet the whistle. It should set the stage so that you want to see the next act and the act after that. It gives you tone, style and speech. It shows you how the artist and writer of a series intend to play together. Image Comics' Saints #1 does just that.
We quickly meet our "saints" while establishing that this, for the most part, will be told to us through the eyes of Blaise or as he and his metal band buddies call him, Monster Blaise. From there, we're led to what appear to be our opening group of "heroes". There's a lot left unexplained in this #1 and personally? I like that. Because I want to know why Blaise is having visions and why these people have been drawn together.
Mackey's art is spot on for the style of this book. Blaise's visions draped in gold harken to the gothic art period that inspires much of Saints style and the overall imagery gives quite a few "WOAH" moments. And his work near the end of the book, where a major plot point comes in, is just stellar. You feel your skin crawl and trust me, this is a moment where your skin will crawl. There is a great juxtaposition between the classical art of the dream sequences and the brutality of the scenes in the real world. Mackey does an excellent job establishing the tone of this series from the get go and I hope we see him continue to have that play between the two "worlds".
One of my favorite trends in comics is when writers have characters talk like they would actually talk and have them assume things normal people would assume. The way Sean Lewis writes the characters in Saints almost seems to be making sure we know that hey, not everyone is a saint, and even saints are not perfect. Blaise assuming something about Sebastian just because of his mustache is one of my favorite moments of the book because PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO THAT. The way Blaise thinks, his choice of words and actions (including a little backstage action), show us that he's just a guy. Not everyone has the lofty moral standards of a saint, but anyone can be called to be one.
While I refuse to give anything away about the plot or twists involved in Saints #1 (because you should all go out and buy it), I will say it leaves you hanging. Why are these Saints being brought together? Who is this person drawing them in? And oh my God, what just happened at the end? Saints #1 packs great art and excellent story building into an issue that will cost you only $2.99!
I give it 4.5 out of 5 Hail Marys, full of grace.
Be sure to pick up Saints #2, in stores November 4th!