Technology Embargo

Article by, Drew Van Genderen

Cyber Realm
Writer/Artist: Wren McDonald
Publisher: NoBrow 

The world is in ruins! Picking up the pieces and putting it togetehr as he sees fit is the tyrant known as "The Master" and his radical goons. Yes, the world is a lawless place, but there is one man on a quest for justice. Following an extremely tragic circumstance, Nicolas has found a way to break into the forbidden Cyber Realm, where all of the technology has been locked up. While there, he received cybernetic enhancements that provide him with a means of avenging those who have been wronged by The Master. All he has to do is get through some intense bruisers to get to him.

Wren McDonald has crafted a scenario set in a gritty yet enjoyable world By enjoyable, I mean enjoyable for the reader, the characters seem to be having a pretty rough go. In this one shot book we are introduced to a multitude of eccentric and insane characters and a protagonist that won't stay down. McDonald's writing mixes 80's action/scifi tropes to form the badass Nicolas as he rampages through a world with a mysterious past that slowly gets revealed as the story goes on. Include the past of Nicolas himself, tragedy and all. Not only that, but as Nicolas goes through the gauntlet of rogues in The Master's army we see a ton of characterization that makes the villains perfectly outrageous and unique. A ton of stuff has happened before this issue, and a ton is bound to happen in the events following, but instead of providing an overabundance of facts, McDonald leaves us to our own devices to imagine what made everything the way it is, and what's to come. For that, I applaud him. Many comics will spell things out for you, leading to the conclusion the writer wants you to reach. By allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions, the story becomes much more in depth and really makes you think, and the details that get you from point A to point B really help enrich that.

McDonald's art looks like an apocalyptic episode of Superjail or Adventure Time. The character models and how they interact with eachother is a real treat. Where the detail really comes in is their augmentations and outfits. Obviously, Nicolas has a robotic head, arm, and leg, but instead of taking the path of simple, sleek design McDonald has chosen to show us a marvel of gadgetry in this technology free world. Not to mention the way he's drawn using these improvements, particularly in fight scenes, are perfectly violent and just a ton of fun. From there we have the strange dress of the army and The Master himself, but my favorite outfit was that of General Dark Edge, who has this crazy B-movie style get up with a cape that is constantly in motion. To put it simply, it's just great character design. Environment wise, everything is dirty and messy, making it very understandable how bad things truly are, until we get to certain buildings throughout the story. The architecture of said buildings is fantastical and provides more oddity for the reader to enjoy. Finally I'd like to mention the colors. Made of muted tones, Cyber Realm's peculiar setting is further exaggerated and realized, tyingthe environments and the characters that inhabit it together perfectly.

Cyber Realm is a fun return to form in terms of B-movie type stories, the difference being that this book has an endless amount of quality in it. From reading the story, to thinking about it after, to undoubtedly reading it again, Wren McDonald has given us a dangerously enjoyable story with no shortness in quality and detail to take in. Really treat yourself by picking this book up this book for only $5.95.

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