Writer: Joshua Dysart
Art: Khari Evans
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT (March 2016)
Livewire and the H.A.R.D. Corps are about to be engaged by Harada. And Harada is taking this confrontation with Amanda personally. As they collide, Major Palmer plans on stopping Harada’s plans.
Evans & Arreola are simply stunning with this issue. From the depths of space with the view of H.A.R.D. Corps space shuttle to the small armada of ships, every single panel is rendered with detail, care and beauty. The sheer action and emotion is visually explosive from the first panel to the last scene on the last page. There has always been magic with Evans and Dysart from their run on Harbinger and this magic transfers over here extremely well. Arreola continues to be one of the best colorists in the business as the union with Evans is a perfect marriage of pencils, inks and colors. The detail is very sharp and engaging to the eyes and continues to be consistent the entire issue.
Dysart writes one of the most personal chapters of his Imperium run yet. And while we had plenty of personal issues drop with our cast of “villains,” this one has to be the most personal yet for Harada and Gravedog. And while there is little of Gravedog this issue, his actions with his betrayal of the H.A.R.D. Corps at the beginning of the series rears its ugly head here. Palmer’s driven nature to get Gravedog is a big plot point. Meanwhile, Harada’s affection for Livewire and Livewire’s feeling from her former mental are very much opened up here. Livewire is handling things as coolly as possible on the outside while Harada is internally aching over the fact that he might have to kill one of the few psiots he looks upon as a daughter. Dysart even gives us some face time with some of the other members of Imperium in smaller parts, but still does some development for them. Dysart’s mastery of characterization, pacing and drama shine here with all the action. The issue is full of thrills and spills alongside strong tension and riveting drama.
While Dysart’s writing is still some of the best out there today, it feels very weird that this issue, like last issue, feels like the main cast of Imperium are guest stars in their own book. This both a bit of a good thing and a bit of a bad thing. It doesn’t take away from the story much, but again … kinda feels like the majority of the main cast are just … there at times.
Imperium # 14 has Stormbreak coming in strong as it delves into Harada’s & Livewire’s relationship, H.A.R.D. Corps grudge against Gravedog and the actual politic movements of the foundation. Evans and Arreola make the book visual triumph from start to finish. Dysart’s smart and dense writing makes the characters and plot thrilling and engaging, with each conflict feeling meaningful. The only real downside is that Imperium is really feeling like it is Harada and his “little friends” with the other characters to help make the book distinct and interesting taking a back seat to guest stars.
Other than that, still one of the best books out there today.