Review: THE REALM #3 (SPOILERS)

By RUSSELL BERGER

I will sing consistency’s praise until the end of days, and in THE REALM, consistency is king while it could literally be the end of any of our cast of characters’ days. I’m really proud with this book, and the way that this issue unfolded and immerses us even deeper within this fantastical world makes it pretty clear how why this title is a must read, and must buy.

I will say that I was a bit more pumped for this issue than the last, and that’s solely because of the cover. Seeing one of the most bad-ass shots of Ben really hyped this for me, but I know that alone isn’t the reason to be hyped for this title in general. No, that’s because this book is as solid, consistent and overall more well done than– eh, say 65% [or so] of the other books out on the shelf.

My feeling on THE REALM #1 and #2 in hindsight turns out that together they felt more like an “over sized number one,” and apart they felt like the former of the two was the intro issue and the latter the real first issue. Nothing wrong with that, and it definitely plays better at introducing us to the cast of characters while giving Will Nolan [who feels like the face of THE REALM] his dues with the number one.

This brings us into THE REALM #3, because now the story is moving, and plot pieces are falling into place, like ELI. From the end of last issue when we first saw him, I got an off-putting feeling about his character and this issue doubled it down.

Will, Molly, Eli and the gang

Art by Jeremy Haun, Colors by Nick Filardi

Eli appears to be the gang’s “savior.” Though, you get this heavy feeling that he isn’t telling the group anything, even when he’s leading them to “safety.” Will echoes my feeling, as he’s beyond skeptical of Eli and surely doesn’t trust him any further than he can throw him.

Now the rest of the gang [excluding Molly, because I don’t believe she trusts him either] are accepting of Eli. Doc Burke being the most vocal of them all as he made point, “This young man just saved our lives! Quit being so damned paranoid!” To me this is clearly setting up some sort of betrayal. Characters being willing to trust a complete stranger because he saved them, and thus placing power in his hands to do such.

The colors by Nick Filardi (colorist) were absolutely spot on in this issue. They amped up Jeremy Haun’s (artist) work, and just made certain panels pop like it was a purposefully planned jab. The way that those panels play off of the others that aren’t as in your face give you a great one-two combo hit that really make the overall title a powerhouse.

Another moment in this issue that really hit the gas hard, and popped a wheelie was the introduction to REDJAW and BUNNY, [which I’m sure I got her name wrong, which makes my soul hurt because I should know it.] I can recall Jeremy teasing these two in WIPs, and now seeing them come to life in this issue really met the mark I had in my mind to how they’d be. The scene really gave off how brutal the world is at this point. It gives off a more realistic vibe to what the world would be after an apocalyptic scenario, and how there’d be a power struggle for years [and years] if everything was knocked back from the technologically advanced era we live in.

Also, seeing Johnny [Eldritch] riding a dragon who breathes green fire was absolutely amazing!

The interaction between Johnny, Redjaw and Bunny definitely adds yet another layer into the plot, and I love how we can see the disgust that’s there for Johnny. You can see the “class” building just from their encounter. The way Redjaw loathes Johnny, and makes it personal when he [Johnny] insinuated that Redjaw needed his help. This does display how those who don’t like one another often come together to benefit the other, but that in this case and whenever there’s evil people who join forces, your head needs to be on a swivel. That especially so with Johnny in regards to Redjaw.

Something Seth M. Peck (writer) is really excelling at is that he’s introducing a lot of different characters, but yet doing so in a way that’s not overcrowding the title. You can’t moments to breathe and take in each character, this comes back to how I said issue one and two played like an over sized issue, but separate worked better to tell the story.

As an avid reader of comics, I think it’s pretty clear when a character is going to bite the dust. Now, sure there are times when we get slipped up and it turns out to be someone completely different, but in general, you can always see that spear coming from a mile away– heh, see what I did there (panel below?)

Will, Molly and dead kid

Art by Jeremy Haun, Colors by Nick Filardi

Seeing this kid at the very beginning of the issue all by himself– which in its own right is a cardinal sin of anything horror-esque, and I think that basically translates to a post apocalyptic scenario, but as usual, I’ve digressed a bit. Seeing him alone, reading a comic [DOC KRAKEN] and being “hunted” by perhaps cloaked individuals kind of summed up his fate. So when he took a spear to the chest– no, not an arrow to the knee, I wasn’t too surprised.

Of course, I don’t think this is a negative of the issue, because I don’t think Seth and Jeremy set that up to be some massive “oh shit” moment. I do think that this is setting up the next issue for Will and the gang.

One thing for sure… I kind of want to read that DOC KRAKEN issue the “dead” kid was reading.

Uh oh, do you hear that? You do, right? Oh, well in case you can’t, allow me to scream this at the top of my lungs: DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? I can’t hear you! Yes, that’s right, it’s How much of a bearded bad-ass was Ben this issue???

Ben

Art by Jeremy Haun, Colors by Nick Filardi

It seems like with every issue, Ben’s “airtime” gets shorter and shorter. And of course, I’m sure my bias for him is showing like a sore-thumb, right? Well, put that aside, because even in the few panels we saw Ben, you got to admit that someone who walks right up to Orcs and sticks their sawed-off shotgun in one’s face knowing he loses the element of surprise when he pulls the trigger, that’s bad-freaking-ass– eh, and some could say stupid, but I’m sticking with bad-ass.

I do think we’re building to his interaction with the gang, simply because I can only draw a conclusion that the “bang, bang,” we saw on the next page [and they heard in the distance] was from Ben. I’d probably bet that Ben saves Will and Molly from whomever killed the “dead kid,” who I’m now realizing that name can be a bit confusing, but I’m sticking with it.

Ben scores a 8.9 on the HMOABBAWBTI scale.

All said and done, this was a great third issue. The slow climb with the story makes it where we get just enough that we want more, but you’re still left in suspense as to what might happen next. That’s good story building and telling. I’ll be patiently waiting a DOC KRAKEN comic, but until then I give THE REALM #3 a 4.5 out of 5.

Make sure to pick this issue up at your local comic shop, and THE REALM #4 will be hitting shelves on Wednesday, December 20th,

The weary adventurers may have found a safe haven hidden away in the savage wastelands of Kansas. Unfortunately, it looks like someone else has found it too…

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