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Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #5 (of 6)

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #5 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, KANO
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by BUTCH GUICE
Cover B by RAÚL ALLÉN
Cover C by JACK HERBERT
$4.99 | 40 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 17th

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 LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #5 (of 6)

Preview: Amber Blake #4

Amber Blake #4

Jade Lagardère (w) • Butch Guice (a & c)

Amber Blake has finally found the person responsible for all of the pain in her life—and there’s no way she’s letting him get away again. But nothing is as it seems, and when the people closest to her betray her, she’ll have to use all of her skills to get out alive—and to get the vengeance she’s longed for.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Amber Blake #4

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4

Wait, did THAT really just happen in the last cliffhanger? Oh, man… Can Toyo’s team recover in The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4 or will they never be the same again? Trust us, you don’t want to miss the acclaimed limited series about the world’s most powerful man.

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada has become more than a typical miniseries. It is the capstone of Joshua Dysart‘s phenomenal run with the character that spans Harbinger and Imperium. It’s more than just the story about the end of a character’s life. It’s also a story about how sometimes the best of intentions don’t justify the means to achieve them – and yet sometimes the end does justify the means, but that not everybody will be happy with the results and chaos can still ensue.

The fallout to the last issue begins The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4 in earnest, with the character’s each coming to their own realization and dealing with the emotional fallout from The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #3 (you can probably guess what it is, but because I am staunchly anti-spoiler I am refraining from just outright saying what it is). The scope of the series is vast, but the focus this issue on a handful of characters brings you back to a more human – such that they are – look at the messianic Toyo Harada through their eyes. It’s a reminder that for all his vast power, he’s also had an incredible impact on those around him.

This is also reinforced with the subplot set during the sixties with an amnesiac Harada becoming an all together different sort of messiah as his philosophy of emptiness resonates with the drug fueled hippy commune that forms around him. It’s another aspect to the character, that he can’t help but inspire people, that’s brilliantly explored in this issue.

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.

Artistically, The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4 is freaking awesome. Cafu and Diego Yapur is joined by colourists Andrew Dalhouse and Diego Rodriguez. The artists craft yet another visual masterpiece that perfectly compliments the depth of Dysart’s writing. This book is one of the very finest things on the racks this week. Either the art or the writing alone would be enough to earn my recommendation. Together, they’re like peanut butter and chocolate. Two great things that are made even better together (if you like that combination).

I don’t know what you’re reading this month. If it isn’t The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada then you’re missing out on a comic that all comics fans should be reading. Because this is a series that highlights what comics are capable of; telling a great story whilst also exploring some very interesting themes about saviors, hope and the government military machines.

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.

Preview: Amber Blake #3

Amber Blake #3

Jade Lagardère (w) • Butch Guice (a & c)

Amber Blake is a woman on a mission. She’s going to destroy everyone who has hurt the people she loves. But not all is as it seems, and some of her allies have agendas of their own…

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Amber Blake #3

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #3

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #3

Wait, did we kill Toyo Harada in the middle of his own series? It is called THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA, after all… A young Toyo spends some quality time with one of the most brilliant men in history: Albert Einstein. Yes, really. And things get veeeeery violent with Toyo’s savage alien friend, LV-99…

I won’t lie, reading the above preview text before the comic kind of gives away more than it should, and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth as I read the above before the comic itself. I am, after all, a man who abhors spoilers (even ones from the publisher). So when I say that despite the above text acting like a pair of weights around a sprinter’s ankles as they start the race, I still thoroughly enjoyed this issue.

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is a journey, and not a comic that needs to have every revelation hit you without you seeing it come. That being said, I did strike through the worst of the offending text above.

The opening to the second issue was breathtaking in what it achieved with the raging power of a storm depicted on the page, and so it was with some surprise that the third issue is equally as breathtaking, but in an entirely different manner. Joshua Dysart has Harada meet a man I never would have expected, and the encounter in interspersed throughout the comic, culminating in a scene that will leave you thinking about the consequences of the seemingly innocuous actions you’ve taken – and just how things can be twisted.

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.

Artistically, this book is just as wonderful as the previous issues. Cafu is joined this issue by Adam Polina, and the two artists create a visual epic that dances between the deepest of human emotions and the serenity of unaided flight. This is a book that has the artists running free, and there’s a true sense of that freedom on every page that you’ll read. This is truly wonderful stuff.

Once again, there’s honestly very little about this issue that I can fault – the only gripe you may have would be resolved by reading more about Harada (though Dysart does an admirable job conveying all you need to know about him in this series alone).This is currently the front runner for my miniseries of the year, because The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is a series that highlights what comics are capable of.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu abd Adam Polina
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse and Kat Hudson Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 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.

IDW’s Amber Blake, Ghost Tree, and Road of Bones all Get New Printings

IDW Publishing announces today that several key issues of indie-friendly titles Amber BlakeGhost Tree, and Road of Bones have sold out at the distributor level! To meet the demand of fans and retailers, IDW will release second printings of Amber Blake #1, Ghost Tree#2, and Road of Bones #1, as well as the third printing of Ghost Tree #1, in June 2019.

Amber Blake, written by international modeling sensation Jade Lagardére and illustrated by industry legend Butch Guice, is a four-issue thriller that shines a harsh light on international human trafficking. The titular heroine, a top recruit at a covert agency, seeks to end human slavery in all of its forms…  and sets out on an intensely personal mission to avenge those she loves.

Amber Blake #1 Second Printing
Item Code: MAR198651
On-Sale Date: 6/12/19

Ghost Tree, a four-issue miniseries written by Bobby Curnow, illustrated by Simon Gane, and colored by Ian Herring, follows a young man whose return to his ancestral Japanese home leads him to a haunted tree… and the departed souls that are drawn to it. It’s a touching story of love and loss, exploring how the past never truly stays dead.

Ghost Tree #1 Third Printing Item Code: MAR198821 On-Sale Date: 6/26/19
Ghost Tree #2 Second Printing Item Code: MAR198822 On-Sale Date: 6/26/19

Note: Both of the new Ghost Tree printings are slated to release simultaneously on June 26th with the release of Ghost Tree #3.

Road of Bones, written by Rich Douek and illustrated by Alex Cormack, is a four-issue survival tale wherein horror, history, and Russian folklore collide. The worst prison in the world – the Siberian Gulag of Kolyma – is merely the gateway to even darker terrors, as escapees stumble over hundreds of miles of frozen tundra on a descent into delirious madness.

Road of Bones #1 Second Printing Item Code: MAR198823 On-Sale Date: 6/26/19

Preview: Amber Blake #2

Amber Blake #2

Jade Lagardère (w) • Butch Guice (a & c)

Amber Blake is a top recruit at a covert agency deadset on ending human slavery in all of its forms—and eliminating the criminals behind it. Now she and her partner Matt are deployed on their first mission—the sabotage of a sex trafficking ring run by the yakuza in Japan—but they might not be prepared for the monsters they’ll have to face.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Amber Blake #2

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #2

The deadly campaign of the most powerful psiot in the Valiant Universe continues! 

In the present: Toyo Harada finds himself and The Foundation Zone under attack by a coalition of world governments, as one of his own teammates begins to turn on him. In the past: Toyo Harada escapes Japan aboard a fishing vessel, and sets sail for the new world.

Lightening struck with the first issue of The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada, and while I obviously hoped to be shocked through my bones again when opening this issue, I was prepared to be a touch let down. I honestly wasn’t prepared to be hit once again with a bolt from the skies. That the comic opens amidst a raging storm, complete with some incredibly atmospheric artwork, was nothing but a wonderful coincidence.

The opening to the second issue is breathtaking in what it achieves within a handful of pages. Joshua Dysart explores blind faith in a messianic figure, the insignificance of man and the frailty of the human condition as a Toyo Harada becomes aware of what he’s going to be capable of.

I’ve honestly read this book three times since I’ve had a digital copy in my inbox, and each time the comic drew my attention in more completely than the last

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.”

This is a complicated character who lives in the moral and ethical grey area, and Joshua Dysart doesn’t tell you how to feel about Harada; allowing the reader to come to their own determination as to whether he’s the hero, villain or somewhere in between. It’s this decision to allow you to form your own opinion, or to reinforce an already formed opinion, that’s a personal highlight.

Artistically, this book is just as wonderful as the first issue. Cafu is joined this issue by Butch Guice, and the two artists create a visual epic that dances between the deepest of human emotions and the serenity of unaided flight. There’s honestly very little about this issue that I can fault (and even that would be a stretch at this point), because between the artistic team and Dysart, Valiant have published the second issue in a pretty freaking amazing series.

Although it’s still (probably) too early to call this series a masterpiece, I’m getting a lot closer to using that word as an actual descriptor for this book. The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is a series to make other publishers jealous.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu with Butch Guice
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse and Dan Brown Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 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.

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