The beautiful yet antithetical opening scene of a robot meditating atop a snowy mountainside exemplifies the heart of Imperium #3. In this complex yet easy to understand tale, the spotlight is on the A.I. robot Sunlight On Snow in a well-crafted chapter that succeeds in both building the character and furthering the overarching plot.
There is much to praise in this rich story. The backstory of Sunlight On Snow is layered over relevant current happenings and subtly interwoven with themes of connectedness and birth. Writer Joshua Dysart has created an immensely appealing character in Sunlight On Snow, and its creation story and struggles will strike a chord with readers as will its comedic truth-telling. This is one of my favorite characters in the series and deservedly so. Its capability to lay itself bare and express the feeling of isolation is heart-tugging.
Dysart masterfully explores the concept of our collective connectedness but does so through unnatural phenomena – the A.I. robot Sunlight on Snow and the assassin alien Lord Vine 99. A new character to the series, we witness Lord Vine’s origin and learn more about Sunlight On Snow in the process as it discovers that their needs mirror one another’s. It’s fair to say we also learn more about Harada’s attitudes in the process. It didn’t slip by Sunlight On Snow’s notice either. There’s a couple of interesting possibilities that can spin out of this – such as where Harada obtained Lord Vine’s seed and whether Sunlight On Snow will rebel. I can’t wait to see where Dysart takes this.
Gravedog’s fate is seen, and I didn’t see this particular plot twist coming. I appreciate the manner in which Harada handled Gravedog’s transgressions, but rather than having a fully punitive message, Dysart uses this as an opportunity to expand on Gravedog’s character. The speech panels are especially illuminating. I’m excited to see the next stage of this plot and am especially eager to learn more about Broken Angel.
Artist Doug Braithwaite’s illustrations are excellent. He does a good job of making the characters “act’, even characters like Sunlight On Snow and Lord Vine, whose features don’t lend themselves to human expressions.
Imperium #3 is the strongest book in the series thus far. Rich character development, depth of feeling, and an engaging plot make this book a standout. Reading it was not unlike what Sunlight On Snow called his “algodonic state” – observing beauty and feeling sadness simultaneously.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com
Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Doug Braithwaite
Covers by Raul Allen, Doug Braithwaite and Cary Nord, design variant by Doug Braithwaite
Release date: April 8, 2015