In the wake of the post-apocalyptic ending of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, Zenescope launched the Realm War: Age of Darkness mini-series that expands upon the victory of the Dark Horde and presents a world changed and shattered by the same. The heroes are all scattered and the villains have supremacy everywhere. In the midst of all this, a brave few such as Sela and Britney and Shang and Gideon are trying to stem the tide even as the intrigues and biases within the Dark Horde make themselves more prominent than before. I quite loved the first couple issues of the series and have been waiting for the third ever since.
This week’s Realm War: Age of Darkness #3 picks up from slightly after the previous issue ended and it shows Sela and Britney go up against a foe that they are hard-pressed to beat, Robyn Locksley, the prophesied Child of Darkness. Robyn was a Realm Knight alongside the other two women up until the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, but since then she has gone over to the Dark Horde. How and why, we don’t know, but that’s part of the fun of this issue. Joe Brusha really gets into the thick of things here as he begins to interweave several mysteries and the art by Sami Kivela is even better than beforeRealm War #3 is about betrayal in several ways. Knowing that Robyn has been brought over to the bad guys from the ending of the previous issue, a conflict between her and Sela was inevitable, particularly since she was ordered by the Dark Queen Lucinda to confront the former Guardian and leader of the Realm Knights. Unfortunately, there isn’t any direct confrontation between the two women, or even between Britney and Robyn, as they’ve been enemies for a while and only got along because of their status as Realm Knights, and that was somewhat disappointing. But then again, the power of Robyn going over to the Dark Side is that Joe Brusha plays up on the whole mystery of it and I have to say that this was kind of fun, seeing that Robyn observes the group in secret and only reveals herself later on.
Power games. It is all about power games.
But the challenges facing Britney and Sela aren’t the only events of this issue since there’s also the matter of Venus’ planned betrayal of the Dark Queen, for which she needs the help of Andre Payne, another former Realm Knight who has been seemingly brainwashed by Venus. In the pages of Godstorm: Hercules Payne we’ve seen the origins of Andrew and the revelation that he is a son of Zeus himself, and have also seen him go up against both Venus and others of her brainwashed army, so Joe Brusha plays up on those similarities to show how far the hero has fallen.
And that’s what creates the proper environment here because we have two former Realm Knights who have gone over to the Dark Side and the others who remain following the successful assassination attempt on their ranks and they are all headed for a really epic confrontation. Joe Brusha develops their character arcs quite nicely, even though this is an ensemble title, and we really get a good sense of their abilities and their quirks and their motivations. Plus everything that is going on with the villains.
The Dark One doesn’t feature so much this time around unfortunately, a character I find quite intriguing, but that’s fine I suppose since there are nine more issues to go and there is something heavy brewing with him too that I can’t wait to see unfold.
Sami Kivela is the artist, with Maxflan Araujo on the colours, Jim Campbell on the letters, and the duo of Harvey Tolibao and Ivan Nunes on the cover itself. This issue is a bit low on the blood and violence when compared to the all-out bleakness of the previous two issues, which made for a nice change of pace I have to admit. With all the different characters portrayed here, would have been easy for the artists to get carried away, but the reality is quite positively different and the action scenes are absolutely riveting. And the colours really bring out the best of Sami’s pencils/inks too, so that’s an additional positive.
A new hero has entered the stage by the end of the issue, and I can’t wait to see what Joe Brusha has in store with him, so it is going to be another long wait till Realm War #4!
More Realm War: #1-2.