Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5

In The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5, Toyo Harada is dead! 

The long-lost secret of Harada’s estranged son revealed! Harada’s final allies stand strong as they protect their master’s vision!

The penultimate issue of Valiant’s The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada shows how the members of Harada’s team are dealing with his demise and the fall of his dream. That Toyo Harada could be seen as a villain is a fairly obvious statement; he was the antagonist of much of the Harbinger series, after all. The opposite can also be said. Harada’s primary goal has always been to create a Utopian society. One where the problems and issues stemming from current governing systems can be avoided or corrected. One has to ask, in the face of this utopia, which he will do anything to achieve, is the world justified in declaring war against Harada?

Who is the villain in this story that has more grey areas than a certain book series.

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often, and when they do, they’re always divisively popular as they begin to make one question whether they are truly villainous or merely driven by their goals. Harada was often framed as the villain in Harbinger, though one can argue that was simply because of the side of the story we were following, rather than the character being evil (again, there’s the divisive aspect of the man – there are more times than not that I find myself agreeing with his goals, but not always his methods). As Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen “I understand. Without condoning or condemning, I understand.”

I wrote this in the review of the second issue, and felt it needed repeating. This is a book that lives in the moral grey areas, and I love it.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #5 opens with some poignant and at times heartbreaking moments. It features Harada’s allies as they each come to terms with his death in their own way. Stronghold’s thread reveals a little more about Harada’s past through the eyes of a young Stronghold. Sunlight On Snow’s scenes are an absolute highlight of the comic. They’re beautifully presented and are one highlight among a comic full of wonder.

I’ve already mentioned that artistically, The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5 is freaking awesome. With the talent of Cafu and Kano, who are joined by colourist Andrew Dalhouse, the expectations are obviously going to be high – and they’re more than met. When a series has so much potential as this one has, it’s easy to assume that maybe there’d be a fault to find – either with the art or with Joshua Dysart‘s writing. There isn’t. This book, indeed the entire series, is nigh on perfect.

It’s actually kinda hard to explain in words just how awesome this series is; both as a capstone to Dysart’s run with the character, but also as a standalone series about a man who knows he’s destined for greatness. The series as a whole has risen from strength to strength, and with one issue left, I’m already earmarking this as being an early favorite for my top comic of 2019.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu and Diego Yapur
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
and Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but this is a book I’ll be buying when it hits the racks.