Project Rising Spirit led by Angela Peace Baingana is hard at work breaching the borders of their current dimension in order to find ways to combat Toyo Harada and his psiots. What will they encounter and will it aid them in their efforts against Harada? Is it good?
Imperium #4 (Valiant Entertainment)
Joshua Dysart continues the pattern we have come to expect in Imperium. He chooses one or two characters and dials in on their characterization and development. In this issue he focuses on Angela Peace Baingana and, to a lesser extent, Gravedog and Morris Kozol. If you are looking for a Harada-heavy issue, this is not it.
The story opens with Angela and her science team using psiotic abilities to travel to an alternate dimension. It is unclear what the purpose of the mission is besides further developing an understanding of the physical universe. Once you get past the lack of motive driving the issue, it is quite fascinating.
Dysart flips the script on exploration. No longer is Angela exploring an alien dimension, but is instead playing host to an alien species exploring humanity. This provides Dysart with ample opportunity to include some delightful humor. There is a line where the “Angela Vessel” asks if Kozol will impregnate her in the name of science. The question itself is not humorous, but the language in which he words the question as well as the “Angela Vessel” referring to itself in the third person is funny. Dysart is able to use this to great effect throughout the issue.
Dysart’s character exploration with Angela is powerful, especially her development post-alien transformation. He is able to effectively contrast a compassionate, caring scientist with a cold-hearted killer who is only motivated by the missing piece she needs to finish her project. It is hard to determine, but Dysart may be critiquing modern science. Dysart details a scary and unsettling sequence displaying the “Angela Vessel’s” lack of emotion which Doug Braithwaite captures effectively.
Braithwaite is able to capture the emotions of the “Angela Vessel’s” victim that range from friendship to shock and sadness to love. Braithwaite juxtaposes the “Angela Vessel” with her victim to really emphasize the difference between the two and to reveal her complete lack of emotions. His action sequences were once again top notch. I really enjoyed the dimension jump sequence with the team members’ bodies flying around in all sorts of positions. He also included a panel of them walking upside down as well as employing a number of streaks of light to emphasize the dimension jump.
Is It Good?
Dysart is excellent at characterization and character development and this issue of Imperiumis no exception. The development and transformation of the “Angela Vessel” is compelling and frightening at the same time. Doug Braithwaite’s artwork is once again fantastic detailing deep character emotions, but also the complete lack of emotions. Dysart adds a new player to the game with the “Angela Vessel” and the alien dimension. It is unclear how big a role they will play, but one thing is for certain Harada has deemed her engineering feats valuable as the issue ends leading to a major convergence.