Hello, everyone! I’m Aaron, and I’m back again to bring you your next favorite webcomic (hopefully) while you finish up your plans to celebrate or passionately ignore February 14th! Please, if you have any feedback, leave it here in the comments or contact me on Twitter (@Sully_Writes). And as always, if you have or know of a webcomic that you’d like to see reviewed, reach out and let me know!
Summary: Agents of the Realm is a Magical Girly-esque webcomic that tells the story of five (mostly) intrepid heroines in their first year of college. Improbably brought together from all over the world, the women of this comic learn of a parallel dimension to our own and a very real danger that faces both of our realities. The Agents must gain control of their unique powers and connect to those that came before them in order to overcome the mysterious force of The Alchemist.
Story: I have been consistently surprised lately by the ability of webcomic creators to capture believable young characters. This is why a division exists between the mainstream and webcomic markets, and this is one of the most important abilities that the Big Players need to capture moving forward. Agents of the Realm has a natural flow about it, and immediately lovable characters. Ensemble casts sometimes struggle with maintaining individuality, but right out of the gate this title gives nearly every heroine an established voice.
Another way in which Agents of the Realm excels is diversity. The cast offers representation for most any female reader, without becoming preachy or treating the characters as though they were gimmicks. Again, this is a mark that many major print titles still miss.
There are areas in which the comic stands to improve. Agents of the Realm can occasionally become too wordy, bogging down the pace. I have always been a fan of showing readers what is happening as opposed to telling them, but thankfully this wordiness is not present in every chapter. The plot is enjoyable, and despite some monologues, much is left up to the exploration of the reader.
The story here is definitely aimed at a much older audience than traditional Magical Girl anime such as Sailor Moon or Card Captor Sakura, however it is not (yet) nearly as dark or somber of a deconstruction as, say, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. There is a levity bred into the pages that makes every moment easier.
Art: Despite an occasional sub-par sound effect or word balloon, the art of Agents of the Realm is where it truly shines (both literally and figuratively). The colors are gorgeous, the textures that are included add a real depth to the page, and the characters are immediately recognizable. The poses are dynamic and the fight scenes (though too rare, in my opinion) are very fluid.
More than all of these things though, expressiveness is this artist’s greatest gift. There were moments where I found myself simply enjoying and analyzing the facial expressions and body language of the characters long after I had finished the dialogue on the page.
Page layouts are creative and thoughtful, pressing the envelope occasionally without becoming an experiment in surrealist comics. There are infrequent pages that are too cluttered with panels and words to truly stand out, but even then the detail within the small frames is exceptional.
Conclusion: The art is reason enough for anyone to check this webcomic out, but I don’t believe that anyone would find this title disappointing. If you’re familiar in any way with the genre, and don’t mind the tropes that go along with it, then Agents of the Realm is worth your consideration. In the end, I have to rate Mildred’s magical comic…