By Steven T. Seagle & Marc Dos
Seems like not a week goes by without Image debuting at least one new series. This week we are treated to the first issue of Imperial. The soon to be married Mark is offered the opportunity to become the next Imperial, who seems to be the world’s only superhero. Exactly who or what the crown-bearing Imperial is hasn’t been revealed yet, but he does seem to have the ability of flight, super strength, invulnerability, and uses “weird words.”
Let’s start things off by addressing the elephant in the room; Mark is an idiot. It’s hard to imagine anyone reading all of Mark’s internal dialogue at the beginning of the issue and not feeling the exact same way. Sure you can write it off as being funny, but by the time Mark is trying to dry off his freshly peed pants you kind of borderline hate the guy. However, once Mark is with his fiancée Tina, he doesn’t seem quite so bad and the two seem like a good couple. Too bad that Imperial won’t leave Mark alone. Mark has his hands full with life as it is, so being harassed by a superhero makes Mark’s situation that much more stressful.
When it comes to the art, the whole comic looks consistently good from front to back. Marc Dos’ work works well with the script and actually heightens the overall reading experience. He has a pretty straightforward approach that makes the issue feel grounded but the beautifully vibrant colors show you how playful the series is too. It must also be mentioned that the watercolor style of cover, also done by Dos, is incredibly striking but in a subtle way.
Imperial started off a bit clunky but it really picks up halfway through and by the last page you can’t help but want to know what happens next. When there are so many creator owned comics out there doing their own versions of superheroes it’s going to be hard for Imperial to stand out. Hopefully it will keep its playful tone while still keeping its serious moments authentic. Never try to judge a series by its first issue because it usually takes two to really set the stage.