The Realm offers the reader a post-apocalyptic world where, it would seem, electricity has vanished as a consequence of magical forces re-entering our earthly realm and enveloping our world. What remains of humanity have effectively been shifted back to the Middle Ages; suitably given the mythical monsters now lurching around with orcs and other such ghouls on every corner and our would-be hero, ex-military man, Will Nolan, working as a travel guide, of sorts, for anyone who needs to traverse this dangerous domain of the future.
There’s more than enough seeds planted within this first issue to keep readers interested. Especially as our focal character seems half-possessed himself from some sort of past occult accident we are not currently privy to. We have no idea as to the origins of this particularly post-apocalyptic world other than it was overrun 15 years ago by supernatural creatures straight out of The Lord of The Rings, but we do get a good feel for the wider world and the cutthroat society humanity has become as people vie for their position in the most Machiavellian of ways. Although, the bloody dethroning of King (that’s the only name he’s given, for the short time he remains alive) may been seen as justified given the circumstances.
Co-creators Jeremy Haun and Seth Peck offer up a flavour of what is to come, as Nolan cautiously takes up another job that will, no doubt, be the focus of the narrative going forward. It’s a gritty world that’s illustrated in a gritty realistic way at times, reminding me of Jackson Guice’s penmanship, especially in depicting a rotting New York City and its famous skyline, now dominated by some sort of floating fortress. Floating fortresses are never a good thing, in my experience.
Add in a powerful sorcerer ready to make a deal with the Devil, or some such Hell-spawned freak show, and I can see why people are comparing this as a D&D-meets-Mad-Max kind of deal. It’s certainly a good read with plenty to hook the readers and get them asking themselves the kind of questions about the world, the characters and the story that are required for repeat business for that all too difficult second issue follow through sales.
This book has legs and a narrative that could go on up the road for as long as there is a road on which Will Nolan and his new clientele can survive upon. Something of a road trip, then, but with dragons. Its certainly got my attention.
The Realm #1 is out now from Image Comics.