Friday, September 22, 2017

The Realm #1 Review

Walking Dungeons Dead Dragons

Writer: Seth PeckArtist: Jeremy HaunPublisher: Image ComicsRelease Date: September 13, 2017Cover Price: $3.99

With The Realm we get a book that instantly piques my interest. In what is promised to be a mix of The Walking Dead and Dungeons and Dragons, we have a post-apocalyptic story set in a style of world we don’t get to see too often. Knowing next to nothing about either the book or the creative team I was able to go into this first issue anxious and optimistic. So without further ado let’s jump into the issue.

When we first start the issue we get our main character, later to be identified as Nolan, escorting a woman on a horse. We get some nice imagery of the world we inhabit as it shows off the emptiness and decaying look of the architecture. Before too long we get Nolan and the woman reacting to something off panel and we get the idea that it’s very large and dangerous, but not much else as it seems to want to leave us with just the hint of what we’re dealing with and not outright throwing it out there immediately. We get some small talk that does well to convey a decent amount of information in a small amount of panels. We get the idea that Nolan was hired to recover the woman and it was on the false pretense that she was the daughter of whoever hired Nolan.

We get to the drop off or final meeting for the job Nolan was hired for, as he comes upon a guarded location for “King”. We’re not really told much more on the outset, but we later find out that this is a pretty shitty “King” and was looking to hire Nolan for a human trafficking deal gone wrong in which he was seeking his part of the deal back. The meeting goes south quickly and takes a turn that leaves us with a different, but similar King. These first few pages do well to give a large amount of information while not entirely being integral to what will eventually be the plot of the story. We get needed information about our main character and how he views his job while also giving a quick look to bring us up to speed on the world in general. Things change fast and nobody is necessarily shocked by death or the changing of power.

After this point the book opens up a lot more with looks into other characters. We get a glimpse of a party fighting off a group of orcs, a warrior chasing down what appear to be trolls, and some regular old sacrificing with a sorcerer type who seems to be living in a huge possibly floating skyscraper before he’s left with a bit of otherworldly creature taking up residence in his body. This bit is another strong point in the book as it does a lot with little. We get three seemingly important characters and get a general feel for all of them off of three quick one-off glimpses.

With some quick character introductions out of the way we then get back to Nolan with him returning, from his previous witnessed work as we meet another character that I actually feel we learn the least of. We get the general idea of him being a boss or dispatcher for Nolan’s line of work, but not much else as Nolan learns of another job lined up escorting a group to another state. From here we go on to the meeting with some more character introductions and finally to an ending that is a cliffhanger that’s been somewhat hinted at throughout this first issue.

Overall I feel this book does a lot with very little. It conveys a large amount of information and a sense for characters simply through art or minimal dialogue. With the Warrior we get a glimpse of there’s very minimal dialogue yet I walked away with the idea that this guys is probably not very good, but at the same time not the same kind of bad as the previous seen “King” or even the sorcerer we meet afterward. I don’t think the world building and information conveyed is at the level of another recent favorite of mine, Extremity, but is its strongpoint regardless. If anything I feel we don’t learn enough of our main character in this first issue. We get a basic outline of the character, but not much beyond a possible set of morals and his line of work. I look forward to learning more, but feel we could have spent more time on the main character rather than trying to introduce all the main story pieces on the outset.

Bits and Pieces:

Great world building along with an abundance of story worked in to what feels like a more show than tell style makes this a great introductory issue, I just wish a little more focus was put on expanding the lead character as opposed to attempting to introduce all major pieces of the story.


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