Some comics are easy to jump into, but a title like Imperial #1 is very vague and, unfortunately, this issue is a bit of a slow roller. This is a shame, since the title seems to tease a certain amount of potential between the pages.
The official description from Image:
Mark is two weeks out from making the biggest decision of his life. But which big decision will it be? Taking the ring of the woman of his dreams and becoming a married man? Or taking the crown of the world’s only superhero and becoming the next Imperial? STEVEN T. SEAGLE (THE RED DIARY/ THE RE[A]D DIARY, Genius, it’s a bird…) teams with MARK DOS SANTOS for a buddy book with commitment issues.
After reading this issue, it’s clear what it’s going for. Imperial #1 is about a man learning to become a superhero against his wishes, without a large piece of humor thrown in for good measure. The only problem is, once you throw in the side plot of up coming marriage, this title stinks of ‘coming of age’ overtones. It’s not very subtle and the plot itself is hardly unique. The whole “my favorite superhero is real…” story has been done to death – heck, didn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger do a movie about that?
Still, an unoriginal story could still be told well right? Unfortunately, Steven T Seagle’s blend of humor isn’t that clear straight away. This issue opens up slowly and fails to jump into the action or funny segments until a few pages in it. The opening reads like a surreal commentary on… something. In any case, it takes far too long to get going and it needs to pick up the pace, or simply be a little louder, if it wants to get noticed.
Visually, I’m not sure what to make of it. Imperial #1 isn’t a bad looking comic and Marc Dos Santos is definitely a talented artist, but the issue suffers from a saturation of color. Every page is either orange or blue. These are your choices: the title jumps between the two and doesn’t bother to offer anything else. Even in the panels, any alternative color is rare and, after a while, the whole thing bleeds into one orange and blue mess.
In short, there’s a lot of tidying up to do. The script has potential and the lines and inks are solid. If the team improves the color and tightens up the writing, this could be a fun series but, for now, I have reservations.