"The Realm #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Seth M. Peck
Illustrated by Jeremy Haun
Colored by Nick Filardi
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 13th, 2017
We've seen the world destroyed due to zombies, aliens, and even the sun. The Realm posits a post-apocalyptic landscape brought on by creatures of fantasy such as orcs and dragons. What remains of humanity struggles to survive in a cut-throat world while sorcerers dabble in the dark arts.
Creators Seth M. Peck and Jeremy Haun waste no time in establishing the setting for The Realm. You are dropped right into this story, following a mercenary of sorts named Nolan. He's kind of like a delivery man with the ability to navigate the harsh terrain. We don't know how these mythical beings came to our world and it honestly doesn't matter, just as we never need to know what caused a zombie apocalypse. This is the new normal and these people are living with it.
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Nolan is a skilled fighter who has clearly seen some shit. His piercing gaze would stop any sane individual in their tracks. His costume looks like it was taken right from the set of Star Wars. He wears everything he needs, including weapons, water, and a trusty toothbrush, like a dystopian Batman. There's something else going on with Nolan that is very intriguing that I won't spoil here. I'm not even totally clear as to what it is just yet, but it's enough to have me begging for the next issue.
Although fantasy plays a major role in The Realm, it's introduced subtly. The comic could have been overrun with dragons and goblins on every other page. Instead, a large focus is placed on understanding the rules of this world and how they pertain to the humans surviving in it. When a monster finally does show up, it packs much more of a punch, as it comes as a shock. It's like you've forgotten they were part of the book, so your mind has to re-adjust to this unnatural being.
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Haun's artwork never fails to impress and that's definitely the case here. He has a very striking style that can say so much with a single image. This is especially true with his characters' eyes. There are many close-ups of faces and the eyes that stare out can tell you a lot about the person. You get a good idea of their personality and what they've been through by how they look at the world.
The Realm has a stunning debut issue. It's a perfect introduction that pulls you in from page one. This is an awesome blend of fantasy and dystopia. It's The Walking Dead meets East of West with a dash of Lord of the Rings thrown in.