The promise at the end of the first issue of The After Realm Quarterly was that things would get bonkers (in a good way), but that was just a tease, as Michael Avon Oeming reels us back in and instead gives us a really wonderful end to the first story arc.
Oona can’t help but seem to make things worse. She is a young elf who has been trapped in Elfheim since her people cut them off from the other nine realms after Loki brought about Ragnarök. Here, Loki is envisioned as a tree-like god. (That’s actually kind of bonkers.) Loki has been imprisoned up until this point, but Oona, thinking only of her desire to be free, inadvertently sets him free. And before Oona can make things better, she has to make things worse. It’s all a part of the growing process that Oeming handles really well.
I genuinely like the character of Oona. She wants so badly to be respected by her peers and elders and she wants so badly to become a Ranger and to see the other realms, but she always seems to be several steps behind. She is unable to fall in line, unable to be “normal.” It’s how every kid feels at one point or another, especially those kids with ADHD, OCD, or other disorders. Does Oona have something like this that sets her apart? In a manner of speaking, yes. And we find out what that is in this issue. It’s a big reveal for Oona and, hopefully, will set up some interesting conflicts in future issues.
This is a really smart, fresh, and involving take on the Nine Realms mythology, and my guess is that as we continue forward, we will get to see what all of those Nine Realms will look like in the wake of a Ragnarök. We’ve already seen a bit of what Earth looks like, and it’s fantastic.
Creative Team: Michael Avon Oeming (writer, art), Taki Soma (colors), Shawn Lee (letters)
Publisher: Image Comics
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