by Joshua Dysart, Doug Braithwaite,

Grave New World

There is much to enjoy about Imperium #2. Continuing the overarching storyline of Harada’s bid for power and peace at all costs, this issue largely follows the actions of Gravedog, team leader of a H.A.R.D. Corps unit helping Harada’s opposition.

Gravedog is a fascinating character. Opportunistic, morally ambivalent, and a bit repugnant, Gravedog downplays his intelligence. Make no mistake, this is a clever man with a plan. Whether Harada is the goal or just another stepping stone waits to be seen.

The pacing on this book is great. The main plot point is the building of Harada’s imperium, and Dysart advances it without leading us by the hand. Rather than laden us with logistics, we learn of Harada’s progression through news reports and agencies. This frees up Dysart to tell additional stories and further develop the Harbinger world. In this book alone, several new characters are introduced, the popular H.A.R.D. Corps unit is back in action, and many fans will be pleased to see the return of Rachel from the earlier Harbinger series.

Harada is now a cult figure. As with the first book, Dysart frames Harada through the observations of secondary sources – both his followers and his detractors. It’s a fitting way to reinforce his cult status and heighten the mythos surrounding him. We don’t experience Harada directly in this book, but his absence doesn’t detract from the story since so much of the book involves reactions to Harada’s maneuvers.

The next book teases focus on another character who isn’t Harada. I’m enjoying this approach, getting to know the other players. Stories about the steps to world domination don’t interest me, but the characters themselves do. All of this seeming “deviation” from the main protagonist will come to a head when Harada re-enters the spotlight and by that time, we’ll have several well-developed characters and their respective goals to play off of Harada himself. I believe the result is going to be outstanding.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the solid storytelling work of artist Doug Braithwaite. There is one panel where the background is a recreation of the Per Krogh mural that hangs in the U.N. security council chamber. Featuring a phoenix rising from the ashes, the mural symbolizes the rebuilding of the world after World War II. It’s a perfect choice for a scene where a new world order is trying to emerge amid the ruins of one man’s empire.

Imperium #2 is my pick for book of the week. Great character development, interesting plot lines, and strong visuals make this an enjoyable read. The implications of and theories about this book are going to keep its fans excited for the next installment.

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comments (4)

  • It dawns on me that what Harada is doing is actually having the opposite effect of what he wants. Instead of creating a utopia what’s happening is instead countries are gearing up for a new arms race, terrorists are getting more funds and gear and Project Rising Spirit is never been more in demand. PRS was pretty much done after the Harbinger War and now they have all the gear and funds they could ever want. The Bleeding Monk told Harada that his time was done and it was time to step down but he didn’t listen and it’s going to end blowing up in his face.

  • Wow this issue hit it out of the park! ..this is officially my third favourite valiant title!

comments (4)

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