Valiant Hero Of The Week: Toyo Harada
Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Toyo Harada, Father, Eidolon and Master Darque.
This week’s winner was…
Who is he? One of the most complicated and interesting characters in comics, this is a man who has lived through utter horror and who just happens to be one of the most powerful people in the world. Toyo Harada is the kind of character that lives in the moral grey area; more often than not, I’ve found myself actually agreeing with and rooting for him, because his entire raison d’etre is to secure peace and improve the lives of people at any cost. Initially, he’s subtle and manipulates world events behind the scenes… but eventually Toyo Harada wages war on the world. He’s introduced in Harbinger, and so a lot of the stories that you’ve seen recommended in Peter Stanchek‘s spotlight you could expect to see for Toyo Harada.
What should you read?
Here’s the thing to be aware of here; Joshua Dysart’s epic run with the character starts in volume one of Harbinger. If you jump into the story later on, it will be tough to enjoy it and/or get. So when I’m recommending the first book below, I’m actually encouraging you to read the entire story that spreads across Imperium and The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada. You can read those two series independently, but this is a story designed to be read in publication order. That said, I’ll still include the opening trade to Imperium and the Life And Death trade below.
Harbinger: Omega Rising
A better future. Or no future at all.
Super-powered teenager Peter Stanchek is on a dangerous path. Skipping across the country in a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, Peter is quickly realizing that he’s a psionically-charged “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. But Peter’s plight has not gone unnoticed. Respected philanthropist and fellow harbinger Toyo Harada is about to offer Peter the chance at the things for which the boy has always longed — family, inner peace, self-control — and induct him into the sprawling, secret network of conspiracy and subversion known as the Harbinger Foundation. Now Peter begins his long road towards a destiny that will shake the very foundations of the Valiant Universe. His first lesson? All power comes with a price.
This volume kicks off an epic tale by Joshua Dysart that spans Harbinger and Imperium, and because I devoured the first twenty issues in two days I don’t really remember exactly what happened in the first volume, so I took the above text directly from Valiant’s website.
Imperium: Collecting Monsters
A psychic dictator, an inhuman robot, a mad scientist, a murderous alien, and a superpowered terrorist are about to try and take over the world…and you’re going to be rooting for them every step of the way!
Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet. Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous, and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now!
This is honestly one of my favourite Valiant stories. It tells the tale of Toyo Harada’s attempt to create a paradise for those willing to work. Yes, he invaded a country to do so, but his goal is to create a world without hunger and sickness. By any means necessary.
The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada
In 1945, the bombing of Hiroshima awakened an immense and terrifying power inside young Toyo Harada, a power that he could one day use to build a better world.
With the existence of superpowered psiots revealed to the world and his Harbinger Foundation left in ruins, Harada has been run to ground, and the world’s most powerful man is about to become its most dangerous…
Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart (HARBINGER) returns to the Valiant Universe alongside CAFU (RAI) and a lineup of all-star Valiant artists for a sweeping, continent-spanning chronicle of Toyo Harada’s last gambit to remake Earth in his own utopian image…or sacrifice everything in the process.
The culmination of Joshua Dysart’s run with the character, this is a great story if you haven’t read the other book, but it’s beyond compare if you have.
It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.
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