Cyber Realm is an interesting story. It’s like an indie comic Mad Max world and that should kind of tell you everything about it. The story kicks off with our main character all cybered out betting up some thugs of “The Master.” In this apocalyptic world The Master rules everything and his different generals and thugs roam the lands and collect taxes and such. Basically it’s good to be bad in this world. After this quick view of the future though we cut to the past and find out how our main character became a cybered out million dollar man style and also hell-bent on vengeance. We see him and his son scavenging for tech in a wasteland. They basically find material that’s useful to sell. It’s here that we can piece together what’s up with the world since it’s never explicitly said. There’s never a “we consumed all our resources and covered the earth in trash” moment, but that’s what’s kind of implied.
Right there is when I knew I would like the story no matter the outcome of events because I enjoyed the fact that it told me what had happened to the world without actually telling me. Strong visual storytellers can do that and that’s the case with Cyber Realm.
I won’t spoil the story from there, but it’s clever and has several tips of the hat to anime and manga, but again in this very indie sense. Even though the book is published by Nobrow Press, I got a very strong Top Shelf Productions vibe from it. The artwork looked a lot like titles I’ve seen from that publisher and honestly it could have fit right in with their line of books, but perhaps is more at home at Nobrow.
Speaking of the artwork it’s very clean-looking, which is strange since it’s the apocalyptic future and all. The design also has a flair of classic animation to it with snot bubbles and logs being cut while sleeping. I don’t know why exactly, but I reminded me of the golden age of animation and I liked that. Then there were the anime elements like the mech parts and some of the other character designs. It was the culmination of several worlds of influence coming together and working really well together.
The story is short, but it’s very fulfilling. There’s some depth lacking to the world and the characters, but the journey and the design make it worth the read. Is it the hero’s journey? Yes, but one that offers interesting new elements to enjoy.
Cyber Realm Writer/Artist: Wren McDonald Publisher: Nobrow Press Price: $5.95 Release Date: 7/11/15 Format: Trade Paperback; Print