By Joshua Dysart, CAFU, Juan Jose Ryp, Ulises Arreola
Imperium #12’s high action and palpable tension propel readers through the book without sacrificing its underlying theme. Closing out the “Vine Imperative” arc, this issue resolves the active hostilities between alpha psiot Toyo Harada and the Vine “halflings” of Earth. Plenty of “wow” moments are to be had in this confrontation some 40 years in the making.
A story whose narrative takes place both in the past and the present, Imperium #12 tempers the violence with revelation both personal and plot-wise. Scenes from the past are interwoven with the present narrative. This is done naturally and never pulls the reader out of the story. Instead, this device advances the present day story and illuminates character growth. Writer Joshua Dysart crafts allegory into this sci-fi tale, and the quieter moments of the story allow readers to reflect on underlying themes relating to personal growth and the concept of free will. Slavery comes in many forms, including that of our own impulses.
While the story itself is exciting and the arc’s outcome will have repercussions on Harada’s operations, one of the most notable achievements is Dysart’s ability to transform a monster into someone who readers will have sympathy for and a level of rapport with. The reality of that character’s current situation is stunning largely because Dysart is an excellent character writer. When the dust settles from the story’s confrontation, readers should notice that underneath the larger plot, several of the key players have undergone personal change.
Artists CAFU and Juan Jose Ryp bring the present and the past narratives to life respectively. Each artist has his own distinct style, which makes the transition between the story’s time periods easy to reconcile. Despite their individuality, the artists’ work complement one another. The result is a book that flows smoothly, undoubtedly aided by the work of colorist Ulises Arreola, who unifies the fluctuating timeline. Arreola works with a natural palette and textures that lend a real-world feel to the story.
Imperium #12 marks the end to one of the strongest arcs in a series that just keeps getting better and better. Well-written and painstakingly illustrated, this book will keep readers fully engaged and anxious for the next installment.