Time for another review!
This week, we have Imperium #5, a Valiant comic written by Joshua Dysart, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Livesay, colors by Brian Reber, and lettered by Dave Sharpe. The editor on the book is Alejandro Arbona.
As always, we’re on the Prince song system: Adore means buy it, Beautiful Strange means take it or leave it, and When Doves Cry means don’t buy it.
So, this issue is supposed to be a jumping on point. There’s some backstory to know about psiots (because you can’t say “mutant”), and there are some character names that need to be known such as Gravedog and Lord Vine-99, but once we’re all caught up, we’re off to the races. It's just a race between a tortoise and a turtle.
Basically, this is a fight about how Toyo Harada, the world’s most powerful psiot, is trying to make the world a better place by any means necessary (which happen to be ruthless), and the people trying to stop him.
This issue is mainly catching people up to the status quo, with only a tiny bit of character building, and then it ends.
Morris Kozol, the CEO of a covert military contractor Project Rising Spirit, is on a submarine and is seemingly paranoid about being taken unaware by Harada. He’s gone around the ship several times, checking things out. This allows Josh Dysart to take us on a tour of the ship, letting us see some H.A.R.D. Corps members and what happened to them, Broken Angel and “her” weirdness, as well as something as to what’s going on with the story. Like I said, catching up to the status quo.
It’s science fiction, which I like, but there are terrible names here, such as Lord Vine-99 and Gravedog. Half of the battle with superheroes is having a good set of names, and although a bunch of the good names have been taken by Marvel and DC, that doesn’t mean we have to degenerate to just flat-out bad names like Gravedog, or Mech Major (who, in a Morrisonian move, wants to be called Sunlight on Snow).
The other thing that annoyed me was how slowly the story moved.
Valiant is a “young” company. It’s been resurrected, and they have a new status quo to establish. I get that. However, it’s not good to establish that status quo over telling a good story. This didn’t seem like a good story because so much time was spent setting things up that by the time anything actually happened, we’re already at the end of the book. It felt like a lot of padding, despite the fact that each page had a good number of panels to them.
The art is gorgeous, as it should be at this level. Eaton and Livesay make a good team. There is nothing that I can say that would detract from the work of these two. They know their job, and it shows.
The same can be said for Brian Reber. The colors did exactly what they were supposed to do, and David Sharpe on letters never let things get out of hand.
In all, this is a creative team who knows what they’re supposed to be doing at this level, and there are no missteps. Not from them.
No, my main problem is with Josh Dysart for the story that he told, and with Alejandro Arbona for allowing that story. The editor is supposed to be on the lookout for the reader, and this unbalanced story didn’t do that. When a lot doesn’t happen in the story and the “good” part comes right at the end, there’s a problem with pacing. That should have been fixed in editorial.
All told, this wasn’t bad, but it definitely could have been better.
Final Verdict: Beautiful Strange