Sacred LambSacred Lamb GN

Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Jelena Đorđević
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: TKO Studios

Have you ever seen a horror movie, specifically of the slasher variety, and wondered what happens to the “final girl” who survived all the carnage, barely escaping with her life as many others are left dead by the killer who pursued them? How does society respond to that? Is this person a victim, or are they just a danger to those around them, constantly attracting psycho-killers with plans to once again make them the “final girl?”
TKO Studios’ Sacred Lamb answers those questions as main character, Kellyn West, has just survived the attempt on her life by her serial killer/stalker, killing him and finally having peace in the wake of his carnage. However, in order to protect the people close to her, the government steps in. Now declared an “endemic victim,” or EV, she is moved to Sacred Lamb, a hidden town built and full of other EVs under witness protection.
This meta story about what a possible real-world response would be to themed killers is written by Tim Seeley. By trying to show what happens after that slasher flick you just watched ends, Seeley dives into the minds of the survivors of these horrible events, showing that just because the bodies stopped dropping, doesn’t mean all is right in the world for these EVs. We meet individuals who were born into this off-putting seclusion with no choice in if they want to stay because of the risk they pose to the innocent public should they leave the confines of Sacred Lamb. As the guard force of Sacred Lamb attempts to keep the EVs safe, they also walk a fine line that Seeley does well to highlight. 
The meta-ness of the EVs affects those they interact with, leading to the possibility of imprinting on one of them and heading down the road to become a possible victim in their orbit. To combat this, the warden has strict rules that make these people more into prisoners than charges to keep safe. Though like any classic slasher, no amount of preparing or prevention can prevent catastrophe from striking, with the amount of effort the guard force enacts to keep the EVs “safe,” ultimately harming them in the long run.
With art from Jelena Đorđević, readers get the feeling of actively participating in a slasher flick with Đorđević’s emotion-filled close-ups of EVs and their paranoia of being trapped in a small town that at any moment could attract every serial killer within ten miles. Đorđević doesn’t shy away from the blood and gore either. The violence showcased is an important aspect of the book itself too for highlighting the terrible acts done against the survivors and the seriousness, as well as the effort they go to ensure their own survival against attackers bent on harming them. Their fights for survival reveal more about each resident of Sacred Lamb in showing what lengths this population of majority women are willing to do escape the violence being done to them so they can live normal lives, even within the confines of Sacred Lamb. Fights in comics should do more than just serve as action set pieces taking up panel space. They should reveal character beats vital to understanding who we see in each panel. Đorđević accomplishes that in her art with every fight the EVs put up against their attackers as they struggle to survive against individuals who want nothing more than to see them dead.
Key to any good movie about a killer stalking their victim is sound. Comics being a completely visual medium, the implementation of “sound” then falls to the letterer to give us all the words and sound effects we’d expect from watching a horror movie on screen. Delivering on that in Sacred Lamb is letterer Steve Wands. Every scream, knife slash, and gross sound effect Wands uses on the page helps to convey the horror we see in the art on every panel. It’s enough to make a reader quite squeamish, in the most complimentary way possible, as the action progresses.
As the mystery around the town of Sacred Lamb unravels, the quality and enjoyment in reading the graphic novel increases. Much like a slasher film! It has its peaks and valleys of apparent calm followed by sudden terror and the growing sense of dread that constantly builds with each page turn of the story. The way in which this world works and the role the government must play to keep innocents safe from the unfortunate events happening to other innocents in the form of the EVs is an interesting one. Would something like this truly work in the real world, or would it surely spiral out of control as it does in the story? This focused point of so many EVs clustered together was always meant to end in tragedy ala the same way a theme park full of revived dinosaurs capable of causing havoc the moment the power grid goes down. We see this happen in real time as the apparently revived killers who hunted the EVs up until they were dispatched suddenly start reappearing and going after their old victims.

The supernatural-adjacent aspect of the plot drives intrigue for sure. What actually brought these killers back to life? Is it the fault of the guards? One of the EVs themselves? Or something else altogether evil? What’s to be enjoyed most about Sacred Lamb is the effort it goes to in telling readers that just because the credits roll, the book ends, or that gimmicky true-crime podcast wraps up, there’s always more story to tell. We may not see it from our point of view, but it’s there. Sacred Lamb is the ultimate sequel to every hit slasher film. It’s unique concept and story give all the “final girls” one last ultimate fight for their survival in a way that gives them the control this time around when they notice their shared histories may be repeating themselves.

Verdict: BUY

Sacred Lamb is available now.

Read a new entry in the Trade Rating series every Thursday at The Beat.