Hey everypeoples, it’s Wednesday and time for another dip into the waters of undiscovered webcomics (I seem to be on a hydrated theme this week…). This week’s discovery comes on the recommendation of the guys over at Geek and Sundry, who posted a few of the webcomics they appreciate yesterday, so I gave one of them a look-see. Quick heads up, this one contains themes that one would consider “mature”, so unless you are sufficiently advanced in your pubescent nature and have an open mind, stop right here and go watch this instead.
For those of you still with us, Agents of the Realm is a mahou shoujo (Magical Girl) themed, coming-of-age comic by Mildred Louis, with a modern western angle. Our protagonist is Norah Tanner, a 20 year old college student who would like nothing more than to keep her head down, stay out of other people’s way, and figure out what she’s going to do with her life (ah, don’t we all…). This plan goes out the window when she finds a mysterious brooch that turns her into a magical warrior known as an Agent, and a lady from another dimension called Jade reveals that she has been chosen to safeguard the very stability of two realities. So, you know, no pressure. Norah is just one of five Agents in her reality, with the other four starting to turn up one by one, and just as well, because Jade’s twin sister Ruby is out hunting for the Agents’ brooches, and mysterious monsters called Bleeds are crossing through the gate between realities…
While the basic premise for AotR is nothing new for a Magical Girl series, it does enough things differently that it makes for a truly unique take on the genre that mature readers can appreciate. For starters, where a cliched MG series might feature teenagers (usually driven by hormones and nothing else), AotR‘s protagonists are college students, who have all the problems and life decisions that come with that life phase, making them more relatable to the twenty-something generation that may have grown out of their high-school angst. They aren’t immediately friendly with each other and there is a certain level of tension between them as they learn to work together, having been thrown into a situation none of them asked for. They are also ethnically diverse (with African-American, Portuguese, English, Spanish and Chinese heritages across the team) without conforming to stereotypes, and while the issue of sexuality is not at the forefront, at least one of the Agents is shown to be attracted to another girl. In short, AotR has realistic characters that are defined by their personalities rather than their race or sexual preference, which is often a trap that writers can fall into when trying to create a diverse team.
Agents of the Realm offers a deeper, more deconstructed look at a genre whose popularity has risen and fallen repeatedly for the past 30 years. The archive dates back to March 2014, so grab some snacks and dive in for a few hours of well-drawn, well-written ladies and their magical weaponry, updating every Thursday and Sunday. Mildred Louis is also on Twitter and Tumblr, and she has a Patreon going with two other projects waiting in the wings, so go show her some love and support, because she deserves it.
That’s all for this week, go check out Agents of the Realm right here, and if you have or know of a webcomic that needs more attention, let me know and I might just be reviewing it down the line.
Ciao for now.