by Joshua Dysart, Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber w/ Ulises Arreola
Since the start of Imperium and the first glimpse of Major Mech, everybody has been clamouring to find out more about him/her/it and with issue three, Joshua Dysart does not fail to deliver. Slowly and surely he’s putting all the pieces on the board in preparation of Harada’s next big move and he’s been doing it in such a precise and calculated way, maybe there’s more of Sunlight On Snow in him than he cares to let on.
Jokes aside, it’s very clear that Dysart has big plans for Imperium and the character that he has, and ultimately will, introduce into this little corner of the Valiant Universe. So far, he’s strayed away from really opening things up to the rest of the universe and getting some of the more familiar faces involved. Instead, he’s chosen to focus on specific characters, after the initial set-up issue, and it’s been absolutely brilliant. Both Gravedog, introduced in the last issue, and now Sunlight on Snow (aka Major Mech) have had their time in the spotlight and easily both issues have been amongst the best that Dysart has done for Valiant, and arguably amongst the best that he’s ever done. Dysart is hitting a stride here and being another major architect of this Valiant incarnation, along with Venditti and Kindt, he’s absolutely one to keep your eye on. If his name is on the book, you’d be an utter fool to not grab it up as soon as possible.
Another Valiant creator hitting their stride is artist Doug Braithwaite. It really feels like it’s the age-old tale of one creator pushing the other to do better and better and vice versa. The better Dysart’s story gets, the better Braithwaite’s art gets. It’s an absolute treat to have Braithwaite on art and it’s even sweeter to be getting work like this from him month in and month out. His style and his characters are so interesting and well crafted and the whole package has such a unique voice that you can’t help but place him amongst the top in the Valiant camp along with guys like Cary Nord and Clayton Crain. Certainly some of that look and feel comes from Valiant veteran colorist Brian Reber and his ability to adapt to whatever art he’s working with or whatever book he’s on with an uncanny skill and ease.
Artistically, as well as from a story stand point, Imperium stands as one of the main pillars of Valiant and it will certainly come to challenge X-O Manowar for the throne and title of Valiant’s crown jewel if it keeps up the momentum and quality of these first three issues. Major Mech is a winner, Gravedog is a winner, Imperium is a winner. Hell, anything Dysart touches is a winner and on top of that you have art like this? Forget about it. It can’t be expressed or said enough: Valiant is producing books that you need to be reading. It’s really that simple and Imperium is just one more example of that.