By Patrick Wolf
Picture a world filled with demons, monsters, dragons, and any other fantasy creature you can visualize. Now imagine, instead of having this world set in the usual medieval environment, you find these creatures in a future apocalypse. Such is the world of Realm. Toss out all your preconceived notions of the divide between fantasy and sci-fi and get ready to drool over this grand world created by Seth M. Peck and illustrated by Jeremy Haun. All I got to say is if you’re into dark, sci-fi thrillers and want to take a chance on a new series, this franchise is definitely worth the plunge.
The story takes off when Will Nolan, a mercenary-for-hire, agrees to escort a team of scientists through a dangerous territory that hides goblins, dragons, sorcerers, and more. But, unbeknownst to Will, there are darker forces at work here, and there’s a lot more to his escort than meets the eye. Can Will and his team navigate past the horrors of the apocalypse or will they become its next victim?
So far, Realm has been a borderline epic read. The world is vast and chilling and in-line with how I’d imagine an apocalypse to be; the fantasy creatures look amazing and blend very nicely into the universe; and Peck’s use of suspense is not only scary, but also creates enough mystery to make us want to keep flipping the pages. One scene that really stood out for me was the dragon cameo. You never actually see the dragons. All you get is the terror on the characters faces as the shadows flap over them. This creates a chilling effect that’s much more frightening than simply showing us the monsters. Kudos to Peck for maximizing this technique.
As for the characters, they’re fairly well-rounded and certainly interesting enough to create a mild connection with the reader. At the moment, they’re pretty much what you’d expect (tough, brave, stoic, etc.), but this is just the first issue, so I suspect these qualities will evolve as the narrative goes on. There’s also a bit of a twist at the end of the issue, which I hope will be utilized to give the story’s main character some more depth.
Perhaps the best feature of this series is the artwork. Jeremy Haun’s illustrations are so detailed and dark that you really feel the extent of the ruin in this world. All of the characters look marvelous and the monsters are stunning. But, without a doubt, my favorite illustrations are the panoramic views of the apocalypse. It’s almost as if each picture tells its own story.
All in all, Realm is an excellent beginning to a tale about the end of the world. The writing’s clear, the artwork’s remarkable, and the storyline’s captivating. The only misgivings I have are the action scenes. While choreographed well, they’re a little too trite and predictable for my liking: the foot soldiers are a tad too weak, the boss never pulls the trigger fast enough, and everything always goes according to plan. But, besides this one hitch, Realm is still an outstanding series and certainly should be added to any sci-fi fan’s reading roster.
Writer: Seth M. Peck
Artist: Jeremy Haun
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Image Comics