Project Rising Spirit CEO Morris Kozol is taking security aboard the Leviathan to extreme measures in the hope of fending off an attack from Toyo Harada. Is he just being paranoid or is he being prudent? His crew thinks it’s the former, but we just want to know, is it good?
Imperium #5 (Valiant Entertainment)
Writer Joshua Dysart continues the trend of homing in on one character per issue and really focusing on fleshing them out and placing them in intense and complex situations. In the last issue of Imperium it was Angela Peace Baingana. In this issue it is Project Rising Spirit CEO Morris Kozol.
Kozol has taken security to the next level. He has checked in on his psiot dampeners at least three times to make sure they are working and he has even resorted to patrolling the submarine himself and performing guard inspections! While Kozol is performing his security inspections, Dysart dives into his mind, revealing his inner thoughts to us. By doing so, he makes the issue new reader friendly. Kozol’s internal dialogue summarizes previous issues to give new readers an idea of what has previously occurred regarding Gravedog and Angela Peace Baingana. It does get a little wordy and there is one page chock full of internal dialogue where a sentence or two could be scrapped and Dysart would still be able to get his point across.
Kozol’s internal dialogue reveals his inner self as well. He is distrustful of Gravedog; however, this distrust comes from an extreme fear of Harada and his capabilities. Dysart also reveals a less fearful and paranoid side to Kozol. Well, it probably still emphasizes his paranoia—he is wearing the equivalent of a tin foil hat after all. Dysart describes Kozol’s desires to live a luxurious lifestyle, but life aboard the Leviathan has instilled in him a sense of duty. This sense of duty, combined with Kozol’s arrogance and competitive nature, drives him in his quest to defeat the “bro Harada.”
The story takes an expected twist about halfway through. Dysart is able to brilliantly show off his writing skills as well as his ability to keep the continuity intact. He takes a scene where Kozol is interrogating Gravedog and flips it on its head. He uses the same dialogue between Kozol and Gravedog, but instead of Gravedog’s dialogue supposedly answering Kozol, Dysart reveals he is communicating with Harada telepathically. It is brilliant because Gravedog’s dialogue makes sense whether he is communicating to Kozol or Harada.
As far as the artwork, it is as good as or even better than any of the previous issues. However, Doug Braithwaite is no longer on art duty. He has been replaced by Scot Eaton. One of the big differences between the two is Eaton’s heavy use of shadowing. At points, certain characters’ profiles are almost completely covered in shadow. It works really well for this issue, highlighting Kozol’s paranoia.
There is one miscue on an action sequence where Gravedog’s chest appears to be attached to Kozol’s helmet. The skin painfully stretches across the page. Eaton continues to implement the diagonal panels Braithwaite used so effectively to capture action sequences. It adds tension to the sequence and creates an easy flow for your eyes as they quickly move down the page.
Dysart ends the issue on a high tension point. You will be dying to know what is going to happen.
Is It Good?
Imperium #5 is another awesome entry from Joshua Dysart and Valiant. Newcomer Scot Eaton creates an ominous tone with his shadowing which reflects Kozol’s paranoia. Dysart explores the paranoia within Kozol, but also exposes a potentially greater personality defect: his arrogance. Dysart’s writing is absolutely brilliant. The way he uses Gravedog to carry on a dialogue with Kozol and then to later revisit the same scenario but give it a different point of view is just plain excellent craftsmanship.