The After Realm Quarterly #3 published by Image Comics hit your local comic book shops in September from writer and artist Michael Avon Oeming, colorist Taki Soma, and letterer Shawn Lee. After the previous issues introduce the characters, it’s time to get into the campaign.
Ragnarok has occurred due to Loki and his releaser Oona Lightfoot. Oona, now an Elf ranger with magic dice in hand, maps Midgard looking for traces of the Old Gods.
The After Realm Quarterly #3 Campaign
Oeming approaches The After Realm Quarterly #3 like a game master in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. D&D has a history of influencing writers, so why should this be any different? It’s not just the use of dice but how Oona gets into her quests. A village in danger of trolls? That’s a classic campaign starter in a hero’s call to action. One page even features an omniscient narrator speaking a game master’s interim exposition. The only one necessary because it’s a matter of reviewing what comes before this page to get the full picture of what’s being said. Because a good campaign requires a reader/player to interact with the world around them.
Oona comes into The After Realm Quarterly #3 with just her task in mind. Everything from her old life is something she would rather forget, even friends like shapeshifting goat Pooka. All to bring up a theme involving the rebirth phase of Ragnarok. While the old world as people know it is gone, people and their culture lives on. Oona even finds herself in a brave new world through tapestry-like pages from Oeming. Each looks like a piece of a new legend about to be told at a junction point.
The Other Players
Oeming’s regular collaborator and wife, Taki Soma brings color to The After Realm Quarterly #3. Within this mostly dark world of blues, purples, and blacks are signs of life. Green, for its association with life and prosperity, usually appears at important points. For example, Oona’s brighter appearance blends into the Crannog people when they invite her to their village. It’s a sign of someone so different being allowed in, unlike say a bartender asking about Oona’s ears. However, darker shades of green are a sign of trepidation, like a villager’s desperate plea for mercy from their attackers.
As letterer, Shawn Lee brings out a mostly efficient use of captions and word balloons in The After Realm Quarterly #3. All of which keep within their boundaries and guide the reader throughout the page. Otherwise, one of the splash pages would look too confusing to read. A little context goes quite a long way from point A to point B. Not to mention the times when consonant and volume get annunciation from wordmark-like fonts. The only flaw comes from occasional times that what’s supposed to be said by one person is said by the wrong one. This creates confusion that requires double-checking to see the intent behind two characters’ relationship. Like, say the troll Thugmul and his master Thornbrakk.
Embrace The After Realm Quarterly #3
With some familiarity with the characters, The After Realm Quarterly #3 can be an enjoyable experience. This series embraces its mythological and tabletop storytelling elements to create something easy enough to follow because legends on this scale need something to ground it to the reader.