The Valiant Next publishes initiative steams ahead full force with its next premier, Imperium #1. Following the end of Harbinger, this series focuses on Toyo Harada’s machinations after his true intentions and powers were revealed to the world by The Renegades. With the team of Doug Braithwaite (Armor Hunters) and Joshua Dysart (Harbinger) helming the title, I went in with big expectations.
Mastermind Toyo Harada operates behind the scenes no longer. His schemes and powers exposed, the world’s strongest psiot prepares for a war the likes of which the Earth has never seen before. With his loyal students in tow, as well as a new crop of allies, Harada launches the next phase of his plan. But will drowning the world in chaos truly lead to paradise?
Writer Joshua Dysart returns to Harada’s story after a brief hiatus after the conclusion of Harbinger: Omegas. While the wait was difficult, the result was well worth it. Imperium #1 took me by surprise, its opening focusing on a character I did not expect in a manner I never could have predicted. This narrative choice causes the reader to ponder the complexity of Harada’s character and goals: he ultimately wants what’s best for humanity, a world of true equality, yet are the lives lost a justification for this seemingly flawless future?
Doug Braithwaite, artist extraordinaire, continues his tenure at Valiant. Braithwaite once again pushes the boundaries of artistic creativity, crafting a number of wonderful panels. He shines best when drawing landscape pieces, particularly those of the cities and colonies of the future presented in the first half of the comic.
Joining Braithwaite are colorists Brian Reber and Dave McCaig. Both are exceptional talents, and the coloring is strong enough throughout that it’s clear both men’s world can blend seamlessly into Braithwaite’s linework. Letterer Dave Sharpe provides creative wording placements and a few key font choices that help drive the story home.
Imperium #1 is a near-perfect comic, and one that certainly will make a discerning reader think about the nature of morality while simultaneously enjoying a wonderful story. Though this is a first issue of a new series and is accessible to new readers, it is unquestionably better to pick up this story after reading Dysart’s initial run on Harbinger. Nevertheless, Valiant strikes gold once again in this amazing comic.
-introspective story that questions the rationale of conquerors and if a perfect end justifies horrific means
-exceptional artwork, especially the city-scapes
-though a #1 issue, it certainly behooves readers to check out Harbinger first
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