BloodRealm: Shadowed Kingdom #1 (of 3) Review
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Robert Geronimo's BloodRealm came out of nowhere and quickly became one of my favorite series of 2018.
I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy outside of Lord of the Rings or Bioware's Dragon Age, so it was cool to add another franchise to my list of favorites.
The original series wowed me with it's world building and linear focus on an aspect of what had obviously been a piece of a much larger ongoing conflict. The Sisters of Silence and their quest was an exhilarating read and also the chief reason I support Alterna Comics publishing strategy.
Tell the story you want if you have compelling material, and leave it alone if you don't. Ongoing series are great but when the creators are just spinning their wheels and the vision isn't there you get long running dead series like Savage Dragon, or the often meandering Walking dead which probably should have ended a decade ago.
This issue surprisingly does not pick up following the cliffhanger at the end of the last run. In this mini, we're following a contingent of Gorn's forces operating adjacent to the events of the last mini-series.
Our leads are given a mission attempting to discern what happened to The Scorn Legion. A group of soldiers known to be the deadliest of Gorn's army. The Scorn had gone silent after taking a human stronghold known as the Hollow fortress.
Our narrator is Olek, a Mage assigned to the Mission personally by Gorn. Mages are seen as highly dangerous individuals in this setting and are assigned to units and handlers. It is in this aspect that the series reminds me most of Dragon Age.
In that series of games the movements of Mages are highly constricted and they are feared by the general populace because at any moment they can be possessed by demons. Its not clear if the situation is that extreme here but it was a parallel that I felt was worth mentioning.
The story presented in this comic is amazing. When I first saw Shadowed Kingdom was not a direct sequel to the first series I was admittedly disappointed but the story here is just as intriguing. I was fully invested in the entire issue. The world-building, and the atmosphere is just as dense this time around.
The linework is epic in scope and the stark black, whites and reds make Bloodrealm one of the most visually unique series on the shelves. The reds are particularly cool because of Rob's use of the color to place emphasis on the actions depicted throughout the issue.
The large scope of the areas are also contrasted nicely with our lead characters and offer a meta-context to how small they are in the grand scheme of things, it's a nice touch.
I also enjoyed Robert's decision to keep the events of the story confined to the POV of the narrator. This makes the entire story open to interpretation. This means that although we're keenly aware of our character's thoughts and feelings we may be totally off base about what is actually going on. It's a nice narrative tool to subvert expectations.
Overall this is a terrific start to the follow-up series. I have no complaints other than I have to wait another month for the next issue. Blood Realm Vol:2 #1 is simply fantastic.