Soluna wants to figure out what the blue elixir is, but can she stand up to the Caretaker all by herself? Find out in The Sacrificers #5 from Image Comics!
THE SACRIFICERS #5
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Max Fiumara
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Harper Jaten
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 6, 2023
Previously in The Sacrificers: The night of the Harvest Gala arrives, both for the Lords and for the common folk. Pigeon’s parents attend the festivities but are still numb from the loss of their boy. Why is it only the common people who make this sacrifice? At Rokos’ castle, servants pass around glasses of blue elixir, an elixir made from the joy of the sacrificed children. The Caretaker claims this is his finest batch yet. Rokos makes a toast and talks about how everything is finite, and nothing lasts forever. Luna alone counters this. They, who are as gods, never end and never pass. She drops her glass to the floor and walks out. The other guests all drink. Soluna, from her hiding place, watches in horror as all the old nobles she has known all her life become young again. The Caretaker slips out, and Soluna decides to follow him.
IN THE LAIR OF THE CARETAKER
As The Sacrificers #5 opens, the Caretaker arrives home and is greeted by Joy. She acknowledges that this was their best batch ever and asks if he got the applause he deserves. He retorts that he does not work for the nobles, he does this for himself. He removes his helmet and is revealed as one of Pigeon’s people. Joy hands him a goblet, not of the blue elixir, but the one harvested from the child who figured out what was going on. That is the emotion he thrives on.
Joy and the Caretaker have a plan. He made extra sacrifices. The Lords have what they wanted. They now have extra children and can live forever from elixirs extracted from them. But that is not enough for the Caretaker. He thinks he deserves to be one of gods, even though he also sees them as corrupted by their decadence. Joy reassures him that he is good, and he should get what he deserves.
Soluna throws the door open and accuses him of betrayal. This kingdom will one day be hers, so she wants to know exactly what is going on here. The Caretaker suggests that she should talk to her father. She says that Rokos is arrogant and, with delightful irony, says that he cannot recognize her own greatness. She grabs the Caretaker’s goblet and demands to know if it is the same elixir that the lords drank. He explains that his is made from fear; he prefers fear, like the fear he senses from her.
But Soluna is not afraid. She brought her father’s sword with her, and she knows how to use it, killing several of the Caretaker’s people. She is not afraid, she declares, she is furious. But she also made a crucial error. She brought her pet along with her, or he followed her. One of the Caretaker’s men grabs it and threatens to hurt it. Soluna suddenly loses her desire to fight, and the Caretaker captures her.
Outside, several of the children are playing, but Pigeon sits by himself and uses a stick to poke around in a pond. As the children run past, he talks to them. Where are they taking the others, he asks, and why don’t they come back? They look at him blankly and one of them accuses him of not having faith. Then they run off to get food. He dives into the water and finds a tunnel, some sort of outlet from the building, and decides to explore.
Soluna awakens and is strapped in one of the chairs where they gather elixir. The caretaker explains that they extract joy and hope to create the blue elixir. Soluna is shocked and denies that her father would ever condone this. The Caretaker explains that the gods used to be mortal, but the elixir gives them eternal youth. In exchange, he was supposed to be anointed a god, but he wasn’t. He also tells Soluna that her father will never relinquish his throne to her.
FEAR AND FURY
The Sacrificers #5 opens with a stunning view of the Caretaker’s lair. It looks like a cross between a mechanical construct and a weirdly organic structure, like a combination of a factory and a fallen giant robot. It sits on the surface of what appears to be heaps of dead organic material like a giant tick clinging to its host while belching out plumes of gray smoke. This fits the sinister look of the masked Caretaker, but against this backdrop, Joy looks incongruous. In her fluffy pink dress and with her light purple hair, she is the opposite of what we would have expected.
To have the Caretaker be one of Pigeon’s people is a masterful stroke of storytelling. Over the previous issues, our sympathy for Pigeon has grown. Of all the children, he is the most observant. He is the one who dares to ask questions and wonder about his situation. We have also learned that his father is not the heartless stoic that he first appeared to be. He dares to question the gods. And now that we know how corrupt the lords are, we see with horror that their chief enabler is the same kind of person, although one who has grown even more bitter.
BOTTOM LINE: CORRUPTION AND CONSEQUENCES
It has long been said that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In The Sacrificers #5, it is even worse. A corrupt tyrant is still mortal and is vulnerable to the passage of time. In this world, absolute power creates corrupt immortals.