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Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada TPB

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA TPB

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, MICO SUAYAN, BUTCH GUICE, ADAM POLLINA, KANO, DIEGO YAPUR, DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Cover by MICO SUAYAN
TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-328-4
$24.99 | 224 pgs. | T+ | On sale OCTOBER 9th

The world’s most powerful man is about to become its most dangerous… Don’t miss this sweeping, continent-spanning chronicle of Toyo Harada’s last gambit to remake Earth in his own utopian image…or sacrifice everything in the process. Collecting the complete THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA six-issue limited series.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA TPB

Preview: Black Panther #16

Black Panther #16

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (CA) CAFU (A/CA) Daniel Acuna
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 25, 2019
SRP: $3.99

THE INTERGALACTIC EMPIRE OF WAKANDA – TWO THOUSAND SEASONS part 4

N’Jadaka’s revenge! T’Challa thought he had rid himself of the Intergalactic Empire and its despotic ruler – but he forgot he was tangling with a god. And now, the Empire knows how to reach Wakanda Prime. Has T’Challa learned what it means to be king just in time to lose his kingdom?

Black Panther #16

Preview: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #3

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #3

(W) Jason Aaron, Al Ewing (A) CAFU, Cian Tormey, Frazer Irving, Ramon K. Perez (CA) Mahmud A. Asrar
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 18, 2019
SRP: $3.99

VALKYRIE TAKES A BELOVED FRIEND ON THE JOURNEY OF THEIR AFTERLIFE!

When a longstanding Marvel character dies at the hands of Bullseye, Jane Foster must accept her new role and carry them to the world beyond. But she is not the Valkyrie of the past – nor is Bullseye’s victim any ordinary hero. Valhalla is only one hall of the dead. The multiversal afterlife awaits.

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #3

Preview: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2

(W) Jason Aaron, Al Ewing (A) CAFU (CA) Mahmud A. Asrar
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 21, 2019
SRP: $3.99

INTRODUCING THE GOD OF THE KILL – BULLSEYE!

The deadliest shot in the Marvel Universe just got his hands on the sword of a god! With the Asgardian weapon Dragonfang, Bullseye has the power to kill a god in a single stroke – and he’s about to prove it. Jane Foster, the newly christened Valkyrie, must learn a hard lesson: Not every death can be prevented. Who is next on Bullseye’s list – and what is the assassin really after?

Valkyrie: Janes Foster #2

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #6

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #6

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #6, the captivating conclusion has arrived!

It is going to be very difficult to talk about this issue without spoiling anything about the series. So I’m going to break the review into two parts; one will be utterly spoiler free and full of analogies and metaphors and the other will begin with a very obvious spoiler warning, because although I won’t give away major plot points for The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #6, I will assume you’ve read the five issues released so far. If you want to read the spoiler free bit and drop down, you can do that easily. You’ll find the scores at the end after a clear notice the spoilers have ended.

If ever there has been a series that encapsulates excellence in comic book story telling, it’s this one. The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada is the kind of book you really should go in completely blind too. Whether you read Valiant’s comics or not, this series is one you should read. As the end of Harada’s tale (that’s not a spoiler, that’s a statement based on the series name), this couldn’t be more fitting. A hero to many, a villain to more; a man many have thought of as a god, and who has been labelled as a devil, over the course of his life should not have an ending in black and white.

There’s a lot to this series. A lot to unpack.

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 have yet to find a better descriptor of the character from my own words.

Obviously, there’ll be a lot more to unpack than I could possibly go into without staying spoiler free. But let’s just say that you won’t read this book just once.

It’s a story you’ll want to read numerous times; like any great book, each read gives you a deeper understanding of the material. Each read allows you to pick up on details you missed the first or second time in much the same way a video review allows a referee to go back and look again at a play – it gives them more clarity on the moment.

Each read of this book, this wonderful story wrapped in some of the best art you’re likely to see in a comic, just gets better and better.


Begin Spoilers


Alright. There will be spoilers here, but only minor if you’ve read the previous issue.

When The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5 ended we were thrown a curve ball on the final page. I genuinely did not see it coming; the first part of this issue is dedicated to explaining how the final page of the previous issue, with Harada being a bit more than the atomic stain we assumed he was by the mid point of the story, tying up the loose ends that Dysart had been leaving us to pull at.

After Harada’s utter defeat at the coalition of nations and companies arrayed against him, we get to see an entirely new side to that conflict. We see how Harada had planned for and anticipated almost everything. We see how his story comes full circle. It’s a surprisingly emotional comic that will leave you with more questions about how you see the world; about how you interpret the phrase “the ends justify the means” and it will leave you rethinking your personal definition of hero and villain.

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #6 is more than a comic. I mean yes, it is literally a comic, but it serves as so much more; it’s the finale to perhaps the greatest miniseries of the year, it’s a brilliant read in it’s own right. Dysart will play with your expectations like a lead guitarist plucking out a solo on stage or a mariachi manipulating the strings in an intimate setting. He twists around Harada’s tale before finally revealing his hand in a near perfect moment.

For while Harada has lost personally, he was willing to sacrifice everything so that his ideals would live on. In so doing, he ensure that his enemies are able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

There were less spoilers there than I expected.


End Spoilers


This has been a fantastic journey from beginning to end. If you haven’t read Dysart’s full run with the character, I highly suggest you do so. That way you’ll get the full impact of this story. If you haven’t, and you don’t want to, then you should still read The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada. It’s the kind of comic that other publishers wish they had; this has been the jewel in Valiant’s cap this year, and comes at a time when the publisher is just getting their feet under them once again after a couple of misses in 2018. Utterly phenomenal.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu and Doug Braithwaite
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
and Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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

Review: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1

She was Thor but now Jane Foster has a new role as Valkyrie in Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1, a fantastic debut!

Story: Jason Aaron, Al Ewing
Art: Cafu
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Color: Jesus Arbutov

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle & comiXology

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Preview: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1

(W) Jason Aaron, Al Ewing (A) CAFU (CA) Mahmud A. Asrar
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 24, 2019
SRP: $3.99

JANE FOSTER STARS IN AN ALL-NEW NEW ONGOING SERIES! A new hero emerges straight from the pages of THE WAR OF THE REALMS! For years, you knew her as Dr. Jane Foster, one of Thor’s most steadfast companions. Then you knew her as Thor, the Goddess of Thunder, who took up the mantle when no other hero – god or human – was worthy. Now Jane takes on a new role as Valkyrie, guide and ferrywoman to the dead! But her days of punching are far from over. WAR OF THE REALMS master architect Jason Aaron and superstar Al Ewing (IMMORTAL HULK) join forces with rising star artist CAFU for the book that’ll have everyone talking!

Valkyrie Jane Foster #1

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.

Review: War of the Realms Omega #1

War of the Realms Omega #1

War of the Realms: Omega #1 is not so much a full epilogue story to the “War of the Realms” event as a tasting menu for the various spinoffs that come after it. Kudos to Marvel for putting these in their own comic instead of stepping on Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s literal thunder as they hit the high point of Aaron’s Thor epic. With one last omniscient conversation between Daredevil and Heimdall as a framing narrative, Omega #1 tells the story of Jane Foster, Loki, and Punisher while setting up Jane Foster Valkyrie #1, Loki #1, and Punisher Kill Krew #1.

Even if it’s mostly just a conversation between Daredevil and Heimdall, the framing narrative of Omega #1 is a fantastic conclusion to Daredevil’s struggles with godhood that Jason Aaron penned in War Scrolls. It’s also reunion of one of my favorite recent Daredevil art teams of Ron Garney and Matt Milla, who transform the look of their framing narrative from fantasy to street level as Daredevil goes from talking about gods, prayers, and Valhalla to stopping a mugger with the help of some Yggdrasil forged fighting sticks. Aaron also brings up some interesting ideas like Daredevil’s guilt about his own faith and beliefs making him a good God of Fear that protected Midgard in their direst need. It connects to his recent writing of Thor that the best god isn’t one that fights for the mantle, but acknowledges the responsibility that is thrust upon him.

The first story in Omega #1 features Jane Foster and the Valkyries in a morgue where she hopes to help find them some peace and is written by Aaron and Al Ewing with art from Cafu and Jesus Aburtov. Jane interacts with Lisa, who used to date the superhero America Chavez, and they both can empathize on what it’s like to be connected to someone with so much power and be ordinary. It’s a nice human interaction before a beautiful transformation sequence where Jane takes on the responsibility of reopening Valhalla and finding rest for the Asgardians. Cafu’s art is clean and photorealistic, but not too stiff while Aburtov’s colors are bright, glossy, but a little sad. Jane played a major role in “War of the Realms”, and it’ll be nice to see her as headliner for a little bit in her own series that looks to continue to play on Aaron’s themes of faith and belief that he has explored throughout his Thor comics.

On the more mischievous side, there is a story starring Loki and his undersized Frost Giant buddy Drrf from Daniel Kibblesmith, Oscar Bazaldua, and David Curiel. As evidenced by his work on Valiant High, Lockjaw, and Deadpool vs. Black Panther, Kibblesmith excels at combining comics continuity with funny and genuinely heartfelt moments. And there are a few of those in this short story as Loki takes a young Frost Giant under his wing after he spots the little guy using a stew pot lid as a sled. Bazaldua’s cartoon-y style visuals are a good fit for this book and capture Loki’s every smirk and glint of mischief in his eye. He earned the role of king of Frost Giants by killing his father, but it will be difficult to keep the respect of this murderous and cannibalistic realm. However, adding Drrf to the equation keeps the tone of the story light and not super serious in a Game of Thrones kind of way.

The final Omega #1 short story is a Punisher one, from Gerry Duggan and the fantastic Juan Ferreyra that shows that the War of the Realms never really ended for one person: Frank Castle. Castle is barbecuing stray Helhounds with a flamethrower, breaking up Asgardian revelry with semi-automatic gun fire, and making sure the inhabitants of Midgard don’t loot in the post-War chaos. His mission of vengeance towards criminals has expanded from mortals to fantasy beings thanks to the losses suffered by the people, and especially the children of New York, during the War. However, the real star of the Punisher story isn’t the brooding revenge or monster becomes monster hunter narrative book, but Ferreyra’s art, which he colors himself and has a Steve Dillon meets Heavy Metal vibe. The combination of melodramatic dialogue and captions and over the top violence is a winner.

War of the Realms Omega #1 accomplished what it set out do, which is to pique my interest in the upcoming Jane Foster, Loki, and Punisher comic book series that are spinning out of the event. The artists for these books are especially well-cast, and Cafu’s beautiful take on Jane Foster’s transformation from mortal to Valkyrie was the highlight of this entire one-shot. Also, Juan Ferreyra is such an underrated artist, and I’m excited to see his take on creative fantasy monster executions.

Story: Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, Daniel Kibblesmith, Gerry Duggan
 Art: Ron Garney, Cafu, Oscar Bazaldua, Juan Ferreyra
 Colors: Matt Milla, Jesus Aburtov, David Curiel
Letters: Joe Sabino, Clayton Cowles, Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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)
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