Toyo Harada and his Foundation have begun their crusade to bring about world peace, but there are pieces moving against him and one is the Rising Spirit. Who are they and will the Foundation be able to withstand them?
Is it good?
Imperium #2 (Valiant Entertainment)
Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite left us with the impression all other avenues to secure world peace had been attempted and violence was the last resort. However, this is not the case as Toyo Harada and his Foundation psiots explore other tactics to secure their strategic objective. One of their tactics is the infiltration of a group called Rising Spirit and their H.A.R.D. Corps.
The H.A.R.D. Corps is led by a man codenamed Gravedog. The beginning portion of the book is much like the previous issue in that it builds slowly to a violent climax. Dysart and Braithwaite spend a decent amount of time introducing Gravedog and building up his character while also exploring what Rising Spirit is and how the H.A.R.D. Corps fit in. There are some very interesting philosophical discussions looking at what incentivizes or motivates individuals to take action. Of note is how Dysart characterizes Gravedog with an almost identical motivation technique as Harada: get the job done no matter the costs. This portion of the book takes up the majority of the pages and can be a little slow since there is quite a bit of dialogue with little action.
The story really kicks into high gear when Gravedog creates his own mission to ferret out the Foundation leak from within Rising Spirit. There is quite a bit of suspense and you find yourself conflicted, unsure which team you should be rooting for, Rising Spirit or Harada’s Foundation.
Braithwaite’s artwork is exhilarating in the action sequences. You might not get a play-by-play, but he keys in on the big moments for full emotional impact. He uses slanted panels to give a kinetic vibe to the panels, which heightens the pace of the story forcing you to speed up your reading as your heart begins to race in tune with the action. Outside of the action sequences, he implements about eight or so small panels within a larger one. It works to great effect allowing the reader to figure out what has happened in between this issue and the last as well as detail Gravedog’s ability to process information on his mark.
If you have read any Transformers vs. G.I. JOE, it does a good job of introducing new characters on the page. Joshua Dysart does this, but also adds a small description of who they are and what their role is within Harada’s Foundation. It helps acclimate you to new characters in a very short time.
It is interesting that Dysart and Braithwaite decided to focus on Gravedog as the main protagonist of this issue instead of any of a number of characters from Harada’s Foundation. In the first issue you were introduced to Harada’s vision and his method of achieving it, but were not really connected to any of the characters yet. The first character that gets large amounts of page time is for all purposes an enemy. It is an interesting choice and we will see how it plays out in the upcoming issues.
Is It Good?
Imperium #2 starts off a little slow, but really dives into the character of Gravedog, exploring his motivations and backstory while questioning the philosophy of Harada. It is an interesting choice by Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite to explore the enemies of the Harada Foundation in their second issue instead of a major Foundation character.
Braithwaite’s action sequences quicken the pace and get your blood flowing. It is chaotic with many things happening at once, but at the same time is focused and on point. Dysart struggles to balance the heady philosophical discussions with the quick paced action, instead choosing to give them to us in large separate doses.