Image Comics The Realm #1 Review
The Realm created by Jeremy Haun & Seth M. Peck
Review by Chris Bishop
Earth is not the same earth we think of. The Realm lets you know right off the bat, abandon your preconceptions because it is our way or the highway. The comic starts off introducing you to Nolan, a character equal parts Man with no name, Conan, and Dresden in one arse kicking package. The language style is a bit on the adult side, but Nolan wastes no time in letting you know he bows to no man. In fact, the first little foray for Nolan so reminds me of something Robert E Howard would have written I had to read it a second time. The whole first scene is so visceral and yet the creators give us small backstory pieces. Man is living in feudal-like conditions. Small petty power-hungry men control small tracts of land and call it their kingdom, and life is a struggle each and every day.
The Realm does not tell you how or why things are the way they are. It does not need to. The creators chose to introduce their protagonist and get the show on the road. The glimpses the reader gets show the world as it is now bleak and foreboding. Some of the creatures look like Orcs or Trolls, they are certainly aggressive and from the comments appear to be evolving or changing how they fight. We see pictures that show a past that appears like ours (one photo looks like a military photograph of friends or squadmates) but the current world is very much a fusion of ours and something else.
To marry the idea of this having its roots in a more D&D frame of mind, Nolan appears to be the atypical gun for hire or adventurer (I would even jokingly say murder hobo would be appropriate in this case). He takes jobs for clients but he sets his own rules, changing the terms as he sees fit. Nolan even gets the nefarious “Caravan Escort” aka take this group of scientists and two survivors to Kansas City. The creators I am suspecting must be roleplayers because the plot form certainly feels like something I would expect at the tabletop.
Jeremy Haun’s artwork has been excellent in past series like Constantine. It only gets better for The Realm. Shadows play across landscapes both familiar and unique. The art style tells the story as much as the words do, you can almost feel the wind blowing down the Chicago streets. Broken glass from windows lies upon the streets and the Field Museum features as the headquarters for Nolan’s Employer. If the devil is in the details Mr. Haun must be close friends with the devil.
The color use is perfect for the setting, never exactly bright, but clear and concise. It conveys a world slowly decaying and largely empty at this point. The color work and pencils fuse together to paint clear images with a clear sense of sadness or loss. I am a big fan of the emotive artwork, and the team behind The Realm clearly has this figured out.
Is it worth reading?
I can certainly say Image has always given me solid independent titles. The Realm does nothing to change that. It is a high-quality adult oriented romp through a land that should be familiar but really isn’t. I would not recommend it for kids, but fans of shows like Game of Thrones will be right at home. So will any fan of writers such as Robert E Howard, Fritz Leiber or Jim Butcher. The first issue sets the stage for what is sure to be a long fun filled ride and I cannot wait to read issue 2. So rush out to your favorite local comic book store or buy a subscription from Image Comics today!
Thanks for Reading,
Keep rolling them bones