Imperium 1: Collecting Monsters

imperium volume 1 collecting monsters cover trade paperback
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10

Different feel than Marvel or DC Comics

Clunky story and unlikable characters

Comic Info

Comic Name: Imperium

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Writer: Joshua Dysart

Artist: Doug Braithwaite

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2015

imperium #1 cover variant harada

Imperium #1 Variant

Reprints Imperium #1-4 (February 2015-May 2015).  Toyo Harada is done playing nice.  He’s leading a team of psiots to clean up the world whether the world wants it or not.  The only thing standing in Harada’s way is the world and H.A.R.D. Corps which operates under Project:  Rising Spirit.  Harada has a plan for the world, and Rising Spirit is an obstacle for those goals…and one must fall!

Written by Joshua Dysart, Imperium Volume 1:  Collecting Monsters is a Valiant Comics superhero comic book collection.  The series spins off of the Harbinger series and features art by Doug Braithwaite.  Issues in the collection were also collected as part of Imperium Deluxe Edition.

When Valiant announced it was coming back, I dove headfirst into all the Valiant series.  From Bloodshot to Quantum and Woody, it was refreshing to see a different group of superheroes, and it encouraged me to pick up the older issues of Valiant.  By the time Imperium rolled out, the Valiant Universe had grown too big and expansive to follow so I missed most of the titles leading up to Imperium…and despite knowing the basics, Imperium isn’t the easiest comic to read.

The series starts out with a rather long intro which demonstrates the world that Harada intends to do.  Valiant has painted Harada as kind of an anti-hero since his inception.  The character does “bad things” for the greater good.  He sees risks and collateral damage as a necessary cost for this world vision…if the vision presented in the opening of the comic is true, the vision does pay off for society.

imperium #3 cover variant

Imperium #3 Variant

The story then breaks down into the battle of two very questionable forces.  Project:  Rising Spirit was largely the enemy in the Bloodshot series and H.A.R.D. Corps were there terminal superhuman agents.  This doesn’t make a hero.  Harada and his psiots are on the opposite side and also a threat to society through there radical thoughts and actions (essentially Harada’s psiots are the X-Men of the Valiant Universe in many ways).  The series feels like a big chess game of either side trying to undercut the other and in this collection Gravedog and Mech Major (or Sunlight on Snow) seem to be the pawns while characters like Baingana, Harada, and Kozol are pulling the strings.

The problem with the series is that it isn’t a good jump-on point.  I was fairly versed in the Valiant Universe and struggled to follow what was happening…I can’t imagine what it would be like diving into the comic as a new reader.  Comics don’t need to always be new reader friendly, but I also felt like the series is almost overly clunky in its delivery.

Imperium 1:  Collecting Monsters has that Valiant feel to it (especially the Valiant relaunch).  It is good and different than Marvel and DC, but also lacks something that is hard to pinpoint.  Series like Bloodshot Reborn got over that hump, but things like Imperium seem to be fighting the war against the Big Two that doesn’t quite seem fair, but the difference is hard to pinpoint.  I think part of the challenge of this series in particular is having a lot of unlikable leads and no character to identify with…something I hope future issues fix.  Imperium 1:  Collecting Monsters is followed by Imperium 2:  Broken Angels.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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