Advance Review: Imperial #4

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Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Art, Cover: Mark Dos Santos
Colours: Brad Simpson
Lettering: Thomas Mauer

Mark McDonnell is all set and (nearly) ready to become the new Imperial, his training has advanced… and his wedding with Katie is only a few days away. It’s now time for him to choose. Imperial warns him: his new powers will hurt not only him, but everyone he loves. So, he must renounce Katie. For her sake. But Mark just can’t. And won’t. But maybe he’ll just have to…

If we soldier past another far-too-white cover (really, Mark Dos Santos is overdoing it with white-on-white covers), we see the comedy theme that has been dominating Imperial until now take the backseat to allow Mark’s feelings and troubles to step front and centre. It’s indeed crunch time for his life, and a decision needs to be taken. And writer Steven T. Seagle walks us spectacularly through this moment, with a couple of cliché superhero scenes that are however still unbelievably effective.

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After having criticised his chromatic choices on the cover, we must insist, however, that Mark Dos Santos is no slob in the art compartment. The golden era feel he suggests is fantastic, and it clashes in a very studied and entertaining way with Mark’s clumsy modern day attitude (and language). It is also perfectly suitable because, as I’m sure I mentioned in the reviews of each of the previous issues, in story Imperial is indeed a golden era comic book, that Mark is a huge fan of.

Brad Simpson uses colours to suggest (or, more often, enhance) the feel of every scene. They allow the reader to understand what is going on in Mark’s head in that moment, and makes very clear what his choice will be several pages before the moment in which he actually realises it.

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With this issue, Imperial’s (and Imperial’s) story seems over. But it has never been mentioned as a miniseries, so I suppose we’ll get more. Which, if it comes, will be something completely different from what we read until now.

My interest is piqued.

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