Imperium #15 Review: Monsters Hunting Monsters


Imperium takes the good guys into morally grey areas this week – how is Livewire going to get out of this one?

Imperium #15
Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Khari Evans
Published by Valiant Entertainment

Imperium #15 is not on sale until April 27, so the following advance review may contain spoilers!

Most of this series has followed Toyo Harada’s use of his vast psychic abilities to build an empire and an advisory cabinet of monsters, including a sensitive robot, a violent alien, and a defector from the superpower militaristic H.A.R.D. Corps. Changing perspective, the “Stormbreak” arc has been following Harada’s favorite pupil as she and H.A.R.D. Corps try to stop his plans.

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This issue covers Livewire and her team as they attack some supply ships headed for Harada’s base, pitting most of the team against the hyper violent Lord Vine-99 while Major Palmer lets Gravedog know exactly how he feels about men who desert their teams and Livewire faces the ethical dilemma of using the sweet artificial intelligence Mech Major against his boss.

Robert Gill cover

It’s not uncommon for great stories about people tracking down bad guys to have the heroes make a series of compromises that push them into moral gray areas, but this story has done that very well. Mech Major has been one of the best parts of Imperium, a self-aware artificial intelligence who wants to live a life of poetry and contemplation but remains obedient to his employer’s demands for weaponry. Livewire, who started the arc choosing her mission over international diplomacy, who then spent an issue coming to terms with her mission over loyalty to her sensei, now has to balance the elimination of Toyo Harada’s empire over the agency of this relatively innocent machine. Her powers have always allowed her to control technology, but this time, that tech has a cute little face and a sense of humor. Imperium has long followed ethical ambiguity – Harada’s goals are noble, but his relentless objectivity makes him a Magneto-style villain. Seeing a long-time beloved hero like Livewire subtly enter the same space from her previous moral high ground has been utterly fascinating.

More superheroes and comics: Marvel Pick Of The Week – April 20, 2016

The Bottom Line: Imperium continues to challenge the reader, and it delivers great rewards.

Khari Evans cover