The Realm #1 (Image Comics)
I love that urban fantasy has become a thing, this weird hybrid of taking high fantasy concepts and applying them to the modern world. Shadowrun was the first time I’d seen a heady mix of modernish sci-fi and fantasy, but there’s been plenty of attempts and builds since, from Dark Sword to Dresden to Birthright to that Netflix thing with Will Smith.
The trick of it lies in balance – the reader/audience doesn’t need to know the details of the mythology for the story to work, but the writer does. Where does the magic come from? How does the world work? What is the depth of science and magic, and, when they fight, who wins? Every writer is going to bring their own answers to these questions, and the success of the narrative is decided by how detailed those answers are.
Seth Peck is the writer in question for this tale, and given his work on Sorrow, Deadline, and Bad Karma, I’m willing to bet that he has volumes detailing those questions, whole tomes that his characters have never seen and may only learn snippets of. They have to live in a world they can either discover or die, and death seems much more likely.
Here’s the set-up: the modern world went as the modern world does until about fifteen years ago, when a mythic army appeared and threw the world into chaos. It’s hard for a modern military to fight, say, a dragon, or an army of orcs, or any of the other sorcerous abominations that crawled from fantasy to reality. Nations fell, civilizations shattered, warlords both human and not rising from the ashes to carve the world into ownable chunks.
And that’s where this starts, in the ruins of shattered echoes, the fading dream of an old world conquered by an even older one. The champions of this new world are those that can remember the old and struggle to adapt, those that have the grit to stand against a tide of eldritch darkness and keep their memories safe.
Thing is, these horrors are not the kind of monstrosities to sit and wait for humankind to find their strength. A sorcerer is taking action and who knows what his end goal is? It’s probably isn’t good. A band of warriors learn of that madness and set out on their own journey, hoping to save the world from the darkness that swallowed it whole.
Will they succeed? Can they?
Depends on how much they understand and what they are capable of.
Their actions while be chiseled into history by the pen of Jeremy Haun, whose work you should know from the Beauty, and the heady colors of Nick Filardi. This comic sounds like all of the good times combined into an unrelenting battle between worlds lost and worlds gained, a place where one cannot know without understanding the post-apocalyptic fantasy our realm has become.
My summoning circle is ready. Let’s do this.