Khari Evans reunites with Joshua Dysart as Imperium begins its new story arc, “Stormbreak.” Livewire will once again come face to face with Toyo Harada. Will their reunion be pleasant? How does it fare?
To start off, I want to provide some context. I just finished the first two volumes of Harbinger with Khari Evans on art duty. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed by the artwork, specifically the character faces she used. They felt loose and a little too fake. I was a little leery when I found out she would be reunited with Dysart for the Stormbreak storyline. I can emphatically say there was no need to be worried. Evans’ artwork is top notch; she has definitely improved and adjusted her style to fit the darker tone of Imperium. She is able to capture looks of shock, warm greetings, and even timid fear. In addition, she excels at keeping Livewire focused and determined.
Evans’ panel layouts are pretty basic. She does get a little creative in one large panel where Livewire brings up multiple screens, creating about ten or so mini-panels within the larger panel. It does an excellent job of capturing Livewire’s ability while also allowing Dysart to provide context as to the goings on within the international political landscape.
She also does an excellent job of going the extra mile when it comes to landscapes and cityscapes in the background. They look and feel like you are flying over them in a plane.
Dysart’s story focuses predominantly on Livewire while also touching on Harada’s political moves. He provides an origin story for Livewire and her first encounter with Harada. There are plenty of twists and turns and Dysart hints at a huge mystery almost right from the get go, although he keeps it hidden from us as readers. It does an excellent job of piquing our interest and wanting us to figure out what Harada’s deepest secret is.
The story does falter a little bit about halfway through. Dysart introduces a new H.A.R.D. Corps team who appears out of nowhere and sends the story in a completely different direction. It doesn’t transition well and doesn’t fit into the flow of the previous half of the story. It just sort of happens and you have to roll with it.
The character moments with Livewire are very solid and what you come to expect from Dysart and Imperium. He delves into Livewire’s psyche a little bit and even uses some of the minor characters to delve deeper into her own belief system and find out who she really is. The dialogue during this moment is top-notch.
Dysart is also able to seamlessly re-incorporate characters with a few lines of dialogue and a couple of panels of Khari Evans’ artwork, although this may not sit well with some given it cheapens their destruction from the previous story arc. He is also able to really begin to show how much influence and power Harada is able to wield in the international realm. Dysart continues to throw in his one line or two critiquing our own society; it’s a little jarring as we don’t really see the actions he is describing.
Imperium #13 continues to excel with strong character moments, political intrigue, and power struggles. Dysart and Evans do a great of job of letting us get to know Livewire, but also setting the stage for the impending conflict and providing some big teasers concerning Harada. There were some issues with the dialogue and halfway through the story the plot takes a turn out of nowhere. Still, you won’t want to miss this one.
- Excellent character inspection
- Dysart excels at using the dialogue to provide a bigger picture of the political landscape
- Plenty of mystery and intrigue that piques your interest
- Plot takes a turn out of nowhere halfway through the issue
- Some of the dialogue can be a little jarring and Dysart resurrects characters with a few lines of dialogue, cheapening their destruction from the previous arc