"The Realm #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Seth Peck
Illustrated by Jeremy Haun
Colored by Nick Filardi
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 31st, 2018
Will and the rest of the travelers are holed up in a small settlement as an orc horde attacks from seemingly every angle. Then there's the big, tentacled monster descending upon them, ready to eat anything that gets in its way with its huge maw filled with rows of razor sharp teeth. It's safe to say that things could be better. Now this team has to fight for its very survival and the odds are definitely not in their favor.
The Realm #5 is a visual tour de force. It's a marvel to just look at and take in the incredible artwork from Jeremy Haun and colorist Nick Filardi. Every single page is filled with excitement and energy as the battle intensifies. Even the more somber moments with one or two characters preparing to face their doom feel this way, like you get a brief second to catch your breath, but you know you're going to have to do it quick before jumping back into the fray.
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While the orcs with their bows and arrows and axes are scary, the monster steals the show. It's a hulking mass of flesh, tentacles, and teeth. Picture a giant version of Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but you know, actually terrifying instead of just weird. It looks invincible as it slowly makes its way through the camp. There are no noticeable eyes or facial features. It's like it senses prey from its massive mouth that looks ready to turn anyone or anything into mush in seconds. This is a Lovecraftian beast of the best kind.
Filardi's colors give The Realm a gritty feel, driving home the post-apocalyptic setting. This is a world that's become rough around the edges. It no longer has the niceties of our time. It's been taken over by orcs and other magical beings and humanity has struggled to maintain its place at the top of the food chain. The book feels real.
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There are a number of character-defining moments throughout this issue. Some prove their worth to the group by fighting with all they have. Some give even more. Everyone is given some time to shine. My favorite (and I'm sure I'm not alone here) is Rook, the small, masked and fearless killer who is quietly responsible for some of the best attacks in this chapter.
The Realm has built an impressive mythos around this dystopian society. A rag-tag group of survivors are making their way across this landscape and they're fighting for every inch of their travel. This issue features one bigger and longer fight that's like a modern day cross between the battle at the Wall in Game of Thrones and any of the major ones from Lord of the Rings. It's epic yet still filled with personal moments to pull you in and keep you interested, like the opposite of a Michael Bay movie. This is the kind of dark fantasy I can get behind.