Imperium 3 + 4

greatest villain in the Valiant Universe wages war…to create Utopia!
Toyo Harada is assembling a legion of living
weapons. And the last, greatest gambit he needs is deep within the clutches of
his most powerful opponents. To secure the human asset critical to his plan,
Harada gambles everything he has in an all-out battle to win everything he
Joshua Dysart
Doug Braithwaite
Brain Reber
Ulises Arreola
Dave Shart
Valiant Entertainment
Four issues into the series and I’m
beginning to see a pattern in Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite’s globe
trotting tale of a villain saving the world…by completely demolishing
everything we currently take for granted. With each issue focusing on a
different character whilst incrementally advancing the ongoing storyline, it
takes the formula of successful properties like Game of Thrones or Heroes and
brings it to comic books.
At the same time, I’m also reminded of The
Horus Heresy, because though the series’ villain, Toyo Harada, is everywhere,
setting up events and manipulating characters behind the scenes, rarely do we
get to see in to the mind of the man himself, leaving him to be a somewhat
mythical character in his own story. This works for the most part and is a
smart move too, for seeing the internal thoughts of such a person (who, I’m
guessing, is a bigger threat to regular readers of the Valiant Universe) would
only manage to disappoint.
Instead, we focus on characters like
Sunlight on Snow; the world’s only AI, bound to a single body, and the Broken
Angel, an inter dimensional being that has taken over the body of a psiot to
conduct research in our dimension.
It’s to the credit of the whole creative
team that the Editor has kept everyone on track, bringing the talents of
Braithwaite, Reber and Arreola together to make sure that Dysart’s story, no
matter where it heads, still feels grounded. Via the use of muted colours,
subtle shading and the use of detail on each characters face that emphases
their reactions and feelings in every scene, it keeps a emotional through-line
that means that were the story stripped of its outlandish elements it would
still work as a great character piece.
That’s been the real success of this series
so far; I’m liking the characters a lot and seeing how they react under
stressful conditions is a real joy. As an ongoing superhero series, though I’m
not quite feeling the weight of characters actions on the global stage yet,
it’s early days. From the cliffhanger set up at the end off issue 4, it looks
like things are about to kick up another notch.
If they carry on at this rate, it could be
one of the better series in the past few years.
Cover image courtesy of Valiant
Imperium is available from Valiant.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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