by Joshua Dysart, Doug Braithwaite and Dave McCaig
With Imperium #2 writer Joshua Dysart throws the reader right into the mix in the war against Harada. For some who might not have completely finished the recent Bloodshot run, it feels like there’s something missing as far as information goes with the H.A.R.D. Corps and who they are and what they do. Sure, he covers their powers and what they can do well enough, that’s never a question with Dysart. It felt more like a question of who these people are and why are they doing this? Maybe that’s nitpicking or maybe it’s a lack of knowledge on how Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps ended. Either way, it sticks out in the beginning of this issue like, as a reader, we’ve missed something.
That aside, Dysart still has a very excellent issue here as he continues to build the Psiot-end of the Valiant Universe. While we might not get a ton of Toyo Harada, who is arguably one of the most interesting villains in recent memory, Dysart explores more of the ground level anti-Harada groups and how the world is dealing with someone with his power and his Harbinger Foundation. Dysart even alludes to, potentially, Harada’s end game and where this war is going or if it’s really a war at all. Very interesting to watch Dysart slowly reveal his (and ultimately Harada’s) master plan as this movies forward.
Never one to disappoint, artist Doug Braithwaite shines again here with his work on Imperium. Braithwaite’s character work is easily some of the best you’ll find on the rack and his action sequences are always frenetic and fast paced, which works extremely well for a story like this. Colorist Dave McCaig’s softer, almost pastel-esque color palette really lends itself well to the softer inking technique used by Braithwaite. So soft, in fact, that in places it almost feels like McCaig has colored directly over his pencils. Both Braithwaite and McCaig produce some of their finest work, and really come together to give Imperium a unique look and feel that we’ve come to expect from Valiant.
Dystart, Braithwaite and McCaig impress once again and Imperium easily vaults itself amongst the top books at Valiant. The slight confusion with the H.A.R.D. Corps is forgivable, in the end, and even the lack of Harada is forgivable simply based on how good the rest of this book is. There were some surprises, some fantastic art and some excellent character work all packed into one issue that easily surpasses the vast majority of other books on the shelf. Beating the same old drum here, but you need to get yourself out to a comic shop (digital or otherwise) and pick up another great Valiant series