Everyone would love to live in Utopia, right? Imagine a life where all of the world’s problems: disease, famine, war, and so on were eliminated and humans could live in peace and tranquility. This is where the story of Imperium begins. It’s a beautiful thought, until we realize that’s all it is. But for one man, Toyo Harada, it’s a mission.
I have to disclose that I have not read any of the previous Valiant comic books that Imperium stems out of, such as Harbinger, so I was very excited by the opportunity that Valiant gave us to jump on for their Valiant Next initiative. Here’s the rundown. Harbingers have special powers and control different aspects of psionic abilities. Harada was the only one who could control the FULL spectrum, that was until Pete Stanchek showed up. If you want a full synopsis of that story and what has led to this point head on over here. You can also read the 2013 Harbinger series from Valiant, the Harbinger Wars mini-series, and Harbinger Omega. You can find those collected versions where most comic books are sold. Writers Jim Shooter and Joshua Dysart tell those stories, Dysart is the writer taking on this new adventure in Imperium.
What I really like about this series so far is that it address a lot of the world’s problems on a real scale. Harada’s team is not supposed to be heroes but you really want them to be. Harada’s goal is Utopia and he will get there by any costs necessary. These are the kind of characters that I find to be most interesting, the ones that walk the line. Harada has brought together some of the most powerful beings on the planet, and as the story goes along he adds more. Including an alien that was originally programmed to kill him, that he reprograms to fight for his cause. But my favorite character is a med-bot, turned assassin droid, named Mech-Major. Lately in media, we’ve been questioning whether A.I. is a good thing for humanity or not, but Harada does not care. He will use his “tools” to achieve his goals nonetheless. Watching Mech-Major question his actions and generally kick ass is a lot of fun. The robot also delivers a comical aspect to the story. He always wants the team to call him ‘Sunlight on Snow’ (which he explains why in the story). Imperium has a rich stable of characters, including its villains…er, heroes? Trying to stop Harada and his team are Rising Spirit and its elite force HA.R.D. Corps. But I’ll stop there with outlining the story thus far and let you go and read it for yourself.
As I stated before I am pretty new to this world of Valiant Comics. I grew up a fan of the two big publishers, I dibbled and dabbled with lesser known books as a kid and Valiant was one of them that I regretted not initially getting on board with. With Valiant’s 25th Anniversary upon us the publisher is doing an amazing job at giving new readers a chance to get ‘hooked’ with their stories, and I HIGHLY recommend you do. Lately I have been very frustrated with how the ‘Big Two’ have been throwing so much at fans, making it very difficult to be a casual reader. Remember the days when ‘events’ weren’t every two months, heck they weren’t even once a year. But apparently they seem to think that we have unlimited funds. With the recent deal with SONY to bring their characters to the big screen, Valiant is doing everything right for their fans. Especially with their comics.
Imperium is an exceptional series so far that doesn’t disservice longtime fans of the Valiant series’ and does a great job pulling in new fans. Joshua Dysart weaves an intricate story that leaves me longing to read the next issue. The art by Doug Braithwaite (Armor Hunters) is stellar and does the story great justice, especially when it comes to the action scenes. At first I wasn’t sure if I could get into Imperium, but as Valiant has done time and time again, I can’t seem to get enough! Issue #4 just wrapped up the first arc this past week. Issue #5 hits stands on 6/3/15. You can preorder it here.