Fantasy Realms Or how to make a manga

Fantasy RealmsFantasy Realms, by Niko Geyer (Artist) and Clay Gardner (Writer), is a gorgeously coloured and finely illustrated Manga. It wears its Manga badge with pride and you have an overwhelming sense of Japanese RPGs from the firt panel. In Chapter 1 A Stain In the Dark you are immediately immersed in the action as the wide-eyed teen characters face off against an apparently invincible enemy. This struck me as being like the midway boss battle in a final fanatsy game, where even though you win you get beaten down to one health point. I’m sorry to say the chapter title combined with fetus like protogonists conjured up images of bed wetting. From there the rest of the narrative unfolds retelling the prior events that have brought these characters to this climactic battle. The characters themselves are manga archetypes; Rico the trainee soldier, with a cheeky manner and no respect for authority; Shiva, the illegitimate child with a troubled childhood and magical ability;Ledin the Blue eyed boy with light fingers and a mysterious past and finally the mother figure of the group Calais. I’m sorry to say that the names alone set my teeth on edge and the mawkish behaviour of the teens did little to endear me to this comic. Gardner’s writing is competent throughout, although it suffers from being a slavish example of the genre. What really shines here is Geyer’s artwork, which is clean, professional and sumptously coloured. Some may not like the precision of the photoshopped colour but is it is impressive and adds to the overall professional gloss of the comic. This more than anything captures the essence of Fantasy Realms for me a very glossy, slick production that somehow lacks something. I just can’t connect with these characters. However, if you’re a fan of the genre you will adore Fantasy Realms and in its sixth chapter of volume one there is plenty to keep you going. If you want a manga fix then you could give it a try.

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