REVIEW: ‘The After Realm Quarterly,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The After Realm #1

The After Realm Quarterly Issue #1 is published by Image Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer and artist Michael Avon Oeming, colorist Taki Soma, and letterer Shawn Lee. This issue begins at the end. Specifically on the eve of Ragnarok – the apocalypse as told by Norse Mythology. A lone elf by the name of Oona recounts the events leading up to Ragnarok, and beyond. In her youth she made a pact with her friend Pikki that the two would explore the nine realms together. But when Ragnarok came, Oona was spirited away and Pikki was left in the destruction.

Now older, Oona is an outcast. She is always tailed by her guardian, Pooka, a goat capable of speech and gifted with magical abilities. One day, Oona sneaks away from home and finds herself following a Ranger on a secret mission. But when the two arrive at their destination a greater threat quickly makes itself known.

The After Realm #1

The After Realm is an odd comic, but it appears that this is intended. It is filled with anachronisms, references to pop culture, and also a faithful representation of myth. The dialogue can be cheesy and the main character is a fairly standard trope of misunderstood loner child with a mysterious past. But at the end of the day, Oeming’s story is what wins the day. The first issue covers a lot of ground and despite my prior gripes, the narrative is compelling. There are enough dangling plot threads throughout the story to keep the reader guessing.

Oeming’s art is as eclectic as the story. The style has a distinctly contemporary feel to it, but it also somehow feels faithful to the subject material. However, what truly makes it shine is Oeming’s ability to draw motion. The panels feel vibrant and alive as a result of this and it makes the book much more visually arresting as a result. This is further bolstered by the colors from Soma.

The After Realm #1

The world itself is done in very stark colors, which is fitting considering everyone is living in a post-apocalypse. However, whenever magic is used or mystical elements are in play, Soma’s colors shine. Glittery rainbows of color and glowing evil red eyes are just a few of the things that these colors bring to life. All together these elements create a very otherworldly look that is a great fit for this book. Lee’s letters are also a strong contribution, especially once Oona meets with a certain character in the latter half of the book. The effects lettering is also engaging and the dialogue and narration letters are clean and easily understandable.

The After Realm Quarterly Issue #1 is an odd but endearing start to a series. There are a few hiccups that keep it from being perfect, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. This is compounded with the interesting direction that the story takes as it goes on. If you’re a fan of Norse mythology, fantasy, or coming of age stories then this one could be a very good fit for you.

The After Realm Quarterly Issue #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

The After Realm Quarterly #1
3.5

TL:DR

There are a few hiccups that keep it from being perfect, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable… If you’re a fan of Norse mythology, fantasy, or coming of age stories then this one could be a very good fit for you.