Two group reviews in one week! You better believe it. In case you forgot what a ComicBastards.com group review consists of, each of the participating writers/reviewers from the site will come together like the Expendables (yeah I don’t know about that one either) and give their opinion and score on the issue at hand. Today we have Imperium from Valiant Comics, so let’s hear what it’s about: Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet. Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now.
Imperium does a great job setting a scene. It throws you into this futuristic Utopia and through narrative device it starts filling in the gaps, teasing you with what it tells you and intriguing you with what it doesn’t. Usually when you see something like this the first question that comes to mind is: Where is the dark seedy underbelly? For all intents and purposes it doesn’t seem like there is one. Anymore. Through flashback we start to see that maybe the dark side of this story comes more from this worlds past than it does its present.
The characters are not what drive the story, yet, but they present promise of future payoff. The world is interesting and the setting creates enough mystery that it hooked me until the next issue. The premise itself is a little cliché but we’ll have to see what they do with it. Right now this book delivers a ton of promise and potential with which it buys itself a lot of time for development.
The Valiant train keeps chugging on strong. This latest comic is another reason why Valiant is a very solid comic book publisher. I like the idea of this story. A group of gifted people called Psiots that go to war against all groups of humanity to build the perfect Utopia. It’s an interesting concept. What I really appreciate about this book is that while they cover topics like income inequality and social injustices the book doesn’t go overboard on them.
Dysart uses them to explain the team’s mission and why the group was formed. He also does a great job of showing the audience what could be the end result even though we are in the beginning of the series and things could end up differently from the initial vision that the group and the audience was presented. The art is very consistent and solid just like every Valiant book. Overall, I am quite interested to see where this series goes and what choices the characters make to build their perfect Utopia. A solid issue.
Usually I’m all about the Harbinger side of the Valiant universe, but since the main series ended and adapted into mini-series… it’s lost a step. This entire side of the Valiant Universe feels out of whack like there’s too much going on to keep track of or at least that’s how it feels like for me as a reader.
I somewhat enjoyed the opening, but it became obvious rather quickly that it was an illusion and was going to end. Because of that the story would have benefitted from not staying there as long because ultimately it didn’t strike as deep of an emotional cord as it was going for.
What really was lacking in this issue was a sense of the characters. Our narrator was hollow and uninteresting. There wasn’t a strong sense of who the cast was or even the dynamic of the team we see at the end. And the star of the show himself Toyo Harada… where was the character I feel in love with? The one that while evil, still good. He once was Xavier and Magneto wrapped up into one… now? Not so much. I’ll keep reading, but I really hope Dysart hits his stride again because this is not his prime stuff.
Writer: Joshua Dysart Artist: Doug Braithwaite Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/4/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital