Before I start talking about Imperium, I need to be honest with the readers here. I know Joshua Dysart. Now I’m not a bff or anything like that; he’s a friend on Facebook but unlike some, Mister Dysart operates his own Facebook account. He communicates openly with his fans even if they disagree and he has been kind enough to engage in conversation with myself by answering private messages, freely taking time and giving advice when I ask for it about the comic industry. I consider him an online friend or as far as online acquaintances (a better word) can go. We respect one another and I’m going to respect him by not fanwanking all over this review; it’s just an honor to review one of his works in advance. So without further adieu:
When Dysart left Harbinger at issue 25, the story didn’t stop there. He had more to tell. There have been other mini-series here and there with single character spotlight issues but the real meat of the story would come with the series named ‘Imperium’.
At the end of Harbinger, Peter and the Renegades achieved their goal: exposing Toyo Harada and his goals to the world. The Harbingers in the Valiant Universe are psiots, humans with special abilities. Harada believes that the Earth belongs to them and he will do anything in his power to see it through. However, he no longer has the clandestine shadow of his Harbinger Foundation. Harada has had his hand forced and is now making desperate but still quite calculated moves to see his vision become reality.
What Dysart does is write political intrigue with the woven fabric of comic book action. If you follow him on Facebook, you’d know he is rather outspoken about his political views and it becomes no less a shock he writes some heavy handed political thrillers without being preachy or even slanderous. He is an author without a politically motivated agenda who just likes using politics. It brings a layer of reality to his stories when you dig past the comic book alliterations.
As Harada is held up in a small part of the southern Somalia coast which he has named The Foundation Zone, he begins amassing an army. The only thing which has any hope of a chance to stop Toyo Harda is Project Rising Spirit (which merges the classic Valiant properties of Bloodshot’s origins and the HARD Corps). Imperium is the story of their conflict between one another, the next chapter which Dysart began in Harbinger. He has taken Toyo Harda and advanced him far beyond anything Jim Shooter and Bob Layton ever did within the original Valiant Universe.
Issue four has a very, 2001: A Space Odyssey feel to it. Project Rising Spirit investigates another dimension which has a monolith within it. This monolith drastically alters one of the HARD Corps members, Angela Peace Baingana, into something else calling itself Broken Angel. This is where Dysart adds layers to his story. It becomes 1 part politics, 1 part science fiction and 1 part horror. The first two can be rather obvious, the third is nothing blatant, it’s implied. At one moment, Broken Angel feels it has to understand a human mind with a link to this other dimension. This completely mortifies the crew of Project Rising Spirit as they walk in as this woman who they once knew now possessed or altered by something else is experimenting with the brain of one of their own still lodged within his skull. The scene in question was very horrific.
The issue ends with Harada mounting an attack on Project Rising Spirit to steal the cold fusion reactor they have in their possession. It should be every interesting next month to see what happens when Harada and Broken Angel come face to face. Imperium #4 ships this Wednesday, check it out you won’t be disappointed.