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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.

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: Killers #1 (of 5)

KILLERS #1 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover B by DIEGO BERNARD
Cover C by KEN LASHLEY
Pre-Order Edition by WHILCE PORTACIO
Blank Variant Cover also available
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 31st

Five deadly assassins are recruited into a game of cat and mouse by their former sensei, the mysterious Jonin!

But what does the Jonin want from them, and what do they gain out of helping him?

Each of these assassins can channel their ki—the spiritual energy within all beings—in different ways, granting them incredible powers, essentially making them “superninjas”!

KILLERS #1 (of 5)

Roku is unleashed by Valiant, Cullen Bunn, and Ramón F. Bachs this October

New York Times bestselling writer Cullen Bunn and stunning artist Ramón F. Bachs unleash Roku, Valiant’s villainous redhead! Former MI6 operative turned contract killer, Roku’s new mission will test her in ways she never expected!

Roku is a thrilling, four-issue limited series launching from Valiant at comic book shops everywhere on October 30, 2019, featuring colors by Stéphane Paitreau, letters by Dave Sharpe, and covers by Viktor KalvachevDave JohnsonMarc Laming, and Howard Chaykin.

Roku

Review: Fallen World #3

Fallen World #3

In Fallen World #3, the mind-controlled Bloodshot enlists the help of the Church Fallen to further his nefarious plans!

Rai comes face-to-face with the animalistic hybrids of the Kor’Tunga clan! Can Rai stop the resurrection of Father, his greatest enemy, before it’s too late?

Fallen World #3 follows two main plot threads. The first features Rai and Noah as the pair race back to Sontaku Sector to warn them about Father’s impending return. The second finds Gilad and the Geomancer as they’re introduced to War Mother and her sentient gun. The second plot thread is one of the first times we’ve seen War Mother interact with another character from a series other than her own in Valiant’s future timeline. It makes it a momentous occasion. The meeting of War Mother, the Eternal Warrior, and the Geomancer provides some oddly humourous interactions.

The comic expands upon the denizens of the Earth in the year 4002 A.D. It reveals a little more about the state of the world beneath New Japan and their feelings about the fallen city.

Written by Dan Abnett with art by Adam Polina and colors by Ulises Arreola Fallen World #3 is a solid entry in the series. Though it’s not quite as good as the previous issue. That ultimately isn’t a huge deal given the quality of the series as a whole thus far.

My love for this series is, in part, due to the analogs to our current world. There are clear problems between humans and their former slaves, the artificially intelligent positrons. This leads to some powerfully haunting moments in the first issue. The second issue introduced us to a religious sect that worship Father – or rather their idea of Father, crafted to suit their needs. It’s a series of undertones that add what all great science fiction has. That’s a powerful modern relevance despite the book being set two thousand years in the future. The third issue has added an interesting commentary on a foreign body trying to impose its will on the existent population. It’s a population that is less than thrilled with the proposition being offered by the foreign body.

If there’s any flaw here, it’s in the presentation. As art is often subjective the issues I had with the art, minor though they are, aren’t really worth bringing up. But I will to explain what I mean. There are going to be so many people out there who love the artwork in this comic – and they’re not wrong to do so. Art’s subjective. Just because the style of this issue didn’t resonate with me, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s actually technically very good; the lines are clean, the colors are vibrant and the layouts are interesting. But certain parts of the style just don’t quite work for me.

That said, this comic is still remarkable in what it achieves. Abnett and Pollina build upon everything they’ve laid out in the first two issues. Whether it’s a doubling down on the themes and commentary within the comic, or establishing the direction for the final two issues (and the inevitable confrontation between our heroes and Father), Fallen World #3 is a solid entry in the series.

Although Fallen World #3 didn’t quite grab me the same way the other two issues did, this is still a solid comic by a creative team who are for the most part firing on all cylinders. This event is shaping up to be something special.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Adam Pollina
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Jeff Powell
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Bad Weekend (Image Comics) – If you missed this story arc from Criminal in individual issues, now’s your chance to get it… plus extras!

Criminal #6 (Image Comics) – One of the best comics out today. Each issue is amazing and a must for folks who enjoy crime/noir comics or just quality.

Black Hammer/Justice League #1 (Dark Horse/DC Comics) – Jeff Lemire’s brilliant deconstruction of superheroes meets some of the original heroes.

Care Bears #1 (IDW Publishing) – The classic property get a comic series and we’re always excited to see classic kids properties see new life. More comics geared towards young kids is a good thing.

Fallen World #3 (Valiant) – Valiant consistently knocks it out of the park and this is a series that’s well worth checking out as to see why the publisher is known for quality.

Giant-Size X-Statix #1 (Marvel) – The X-Statix are back and you don’t need to know the past to enjoy this giant-size comic. Filled with humor and well worth checking out.

Ghosted in L.A. #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan’s new series about a girl with undead roommates. The premise sounds fun.

Lola XOXO Vol. 3 #1 (Aspen Comics) – We’ve been fans of this series since the first volume. It’s a post-apocalyptic world that has a nice “western” feel to it.

The Magicians: Alice’s Story (BOOM! Studios) – The popular series comes to comics.

Naomi #6 (DC Comics) – The end of the “first season” of the series and if you’ve missed it, you’re missing one of the best superhero comics out there. It’s nailed the set-up and delivered on reveals. Naomi is a breakout star in the making. Don’t miss out on this entire series. Amazing writing and even better art.

Reaver #1 (Image Comics) – A new series from Justin Jordan and Rebekah Isaacs, that creative team alone has us excited. Six horrible individuals are assembled to help stop the end of the new world. It sounds like the Dirty Dozen (in half) but this creative combo has us excited to see the insanity is coming.

Second Coming #1 (AHOY Comics) – The delayed (and publisher switched) controversial series is finally out and we want to see what the buzz is all about and if it deserves the notoriaty and protests, it has.

Strangelands #1 (Humanoids/H1 Comics) – The latest entry in the Humanoids “H1” superhero comics line is an interesting concept of two individuals who cause mass destruction when they’re separated.

Unearth #1 (Image Comics) – Cullen Bunn, Kyle Strahm, and Baldemar Rivas’ new series that seems to mix horror and science for a subterranean nightmare. Bunn is a master of horror and a new series from him in that genre is one to always check out.

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (Ten Speed Press) – The classic protest novel gets a graphic novel adaptation. The story brings to life harsh conditions and exploited existences of immigrants in Chicago’s meatpacking industry in the early twentieth century.

Fernando Dagnino Talks bringing out his inner Killers for the New Valiant Series

Killers #1

With art by Fernando Dagnino, five deadly assassins are recruited into a game of cat and mouse by their former sensei, the mysterious Jonin!

But what does the Jonin want from them, and what do they gain out of helping him?

Each of these assassins can channel their ki—the spiritual energy within all beings—in different ways, granting them incredible powers, essentially making them “superninjas”!

Coming July 31st is Killers from writer B. Clay Moore, art by Fernando Dagnino, colors by José Villarrubia, and letters by Jeff Powell.

We got a chance to talk to Fernando about the new series and letting the art tell the story.

GP: Killers follows a cast of characters who haven’t really been seen too much, if at all, before. How much creative input did you have with their design?

Fernando Dagnino: I took the concept art done by AJ Jothikumar for the Ninjas as an initial reference, but then I was given freedom to adapt the designs while maintaining the idiosyncrasy of the characters. My reference was the sort of underworld portrayed in such films as John Wick or Atomic Blonde

Fernando Dagnino Killers #1

GP: I’ve never been to Italy, despite having grown up in Europe, but the backgrounds of those scenes were immediately recognizable to me as a Mediterranean setting. How much time do you spend researching the locations in the series?

FD: In fact when I first read the script of #1, one of the things that shocked me most were the settings, in particular, the Italian scene because I had traveled to Burano two years ago. So I knew perfectly well how it looked like and how to render the scene. Burano is a beautiful island near Venice, Italy, where all the houses are painted in beautiful saturated colors and of course it´s crossed by channels just like Venice. I found it to be really original and daring to set a crime scene in such a colorful scenery.

But the constant change from one gorgeous scenery to the next one is an essential part of story and describes perfectly well the lifestyle of these sophisticated killers. In that sense building up well documented settings provides a greater realism to the story.

Fernando Dagnino Killers #1

GP: The first issue features quite a few moments where the narration allows the art to tell the story, especially within the opening sequences. As an artist, how do you approach these pages when you see the script?

FD: I’ve felt really comfortable working with B.Clay Moore´s script from the beginning because it allows space for the art to tell the story. I personally prefer to work like that. It makes me feel like I´m part of the storytelling too and I really get more passionate and excited about the story.

GP: Do you know roughly what you want to do for each page before you start the thumbnails and rough layouts, or does it take you a few different tries to find the best choice for each page?

Fernando Dagnino Killers #1

FD: When I first read the script I make some illegible thumbnail layouts on the paper on which I have printed the script. I got stuck in the ’90s, I still print and read!

Then, taking those cryptic thumbnails as a reference, I begin drawing on the Ipad an initial layout that would be halfway between a layout and a pencil.

In these layouts I also mark the grey scales so I get a better idea of the composition and the atmosphere of the page. That´s what I send the editors for approval and then I go on to the final art.

Some pages really come out easy whereas others I tend to resolve not so gracefully or rather using mechanical resources, in those cases I like to give a second or third try in order to step out of the way so that something simpler and more direct comes up.

GP: How much freedom do you have with the layouts and page construction with this series? Do you prefer working from a full script, or do you prefer the “Marvel Way”? 

FD: I really must thank the editors Karl Bollers and David Menchel because they have placed total trust on my narrative skills and I have felt part of the storytelling from the beginning.

Fernando Dagnino Killers #1

As you´ve mentioned some scenes are left open for a looser interpretation of the narrative, and personally not only do I feel much more comfortable from a creative point of view, but it also helps me get more involved in the story and with the characters. B.Clay Moore is to thank here for understanding the nature of the process in comic books so well. 

GP: You’ve also worked with the Walt Disney Company Imagineers. How does that experience influence your approach to comics, if at all?

FD: That was back in 1998 I was really young when I worked for the imagineers.  It was a wonderful experience being in L.A. (Glendale and Burbank). I had the chance to visit the old studios in Flower street and they even sent me to Disneyland one whole day to conduct research!

It has influenced me a lot professionally as it was my first contact with high level artistic professionals and with a working process full of talent and excellence.

Fernando Dagnino Killers #1

But I was already a comic addict by then so my main influence has always been comic book artists and writers.

GP: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the final question; which is better? Ninjas, cowboys, aliens or zombies, and why?

FD: That´s a tricky question. To be honest, the idea of brainless hordes of undead trying to eat the remaining freethinkers of the world resonates to me now more than ever. So I go for zombies.

GP: Thanks for chatting and excited to check out the series!

Preview: Fallen World #3 (of 5)

FALLEN WORLD #3 (of 5)

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by ADAM POLLINA
Colors by ULISES ARREOLA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by BRETT BOOTH with ADELSO CORONA and ANDREW DALHOUSE
Cover B by FERNANDO DAGNINO with ULISES ARREOLA
Cover C by CASPER WIJNGAARD
Pre-Order Edition by DAVID MACK
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 10th

The mind-controlled Bloodshot enlists the help of the Church Fallen to further his nefarious plans!

Rai comes face-to-face with the animalistic hybrids of the Kor’Tunga clan!

Can Rai stop the resurrection of Father, his greatest enemy, before it’s too late?

FALLEN WORLD #3

Valiant Entertainment’s Releases in September 2019

BLOODSHOT #1

Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by BRETT BOOTH
Cover A by DECLAN SHALVEY
Cover B by DAVE JOHNSON
Cover C by HANNAH TEMPLER
Cover D B/W/R Variant Cover by JONBOY MEYERS
Carbon Fiber Variant Cover by JONBOY MEYERS
Pre-Order Edition Cover by TIM SALE
Blank Cover Also Available

  • A brand-new ongoing series!
  • Bloodshot is a nanite-fueled supersoldier forever at war. What happens to the world when he starts picking his own battles?
  • Will this one-man army be able to end the fighting—or just leave more destruction in his wake?
  • Bloodshot’s missions have made waves, as now the shadowy BLACK BAR has their sights set on him—but what do they have planned for this unkillable hero?

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 25th 

DOCTOR MIRAGE #2 (of 5)

Written by MAGDALENE VISAGGIO
Art by NICK ROBLES
Cover A by PHILIP TAN 
Cover B by COLLEEN DORAN
Cover C by CLAUDIA IANNICIELLO
Pre-Order Edition Cover by ZU ORZU

  • Death was no obstacle for Doctor Mirage, who could speak to the departed. But what happens if she’s one of the deceased?
  • Her new ally, Grace, claims to be in the same dead boat, but can you really trust someone so young and inexperienced?
  • How did Doctor Mirage end up in this spot? Find out here!

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 25th

KILLERS #3 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Cover A by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover B by LARRY STROMAN
Cover C by YANNICK CORBOZ
Cover D by CULLY HAMNER
Pre-Order Edition Cover by WHILCE PORTACIO 

  • The unstoppable marksman, Sights, joins the carnage! But where does his allegiance lie?
  • Can you trust a superninja with a mind broken by MI6? Just ask the Undisciple.
  • The high-octane battle royale continues as the Killers tear each other apart in a competition like no other!

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 18th

PSI-LORDS #4

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by TULA LOTAY
Cover C by MICHAEL WALSH
Pre-Order Edition Cover by PAULINA GANUCHEAU

  • Are the Psi-Lords real? Or are they just a myth? Get a first glimpse at the world beyond our own!
  • After suffering a dramatic loss, the cosmic Quartet continues on with their mission to honor the memory of a fallen ally.
  • The ultimate enemy revealed!

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 18th 

FALLEN WORLD #5 (of 5)

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by ADAM POLLINA
Cover A by ADAM POLLINA
Cover B by HARVEY TOLIBAO
Cover C by RAÚL ALLÉN
Pre-Order Edition Cover by DAVID MACK

  • It’s all-out war between Rai and Bloodfather!
  • Can Bloodshot be saved from his ultimate fate?
  • What does the future of 4002 hold for these characters? The first answers to what comes next starts here!

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 4th

LIVEWIRE #10

Written by VITA AYALA
Art by TANA FORD
Cover A by STACEY LEE
Cover B by KATIE COOK
Cover C by IRENE KOH
Pre-Order Edition Cover by ELSA CHARRETIER

  • Amanda McKee—a.k.a. technopath psiot “Livewire”—fights to clear her name.
  • But when she teams up with a politician to repair her image and make herself a hero again…
  • …Will the public be able to forgive her?

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 11th 

LIVEWIRE VOL. 2: GUARDIAN TPB

Written by VITA AYALA
Art by KANO
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT

  • Investigating the disappearance of a young girl, Livewire stumbles upon an OMEN facility where young psiots are taken and taught to control their powers.
  • Is this the safe haven Livewire's dreamed of or is there something more sinister to this sanctuary?
  • One of the Valiant Universe’s most powerful heroes continues down her road to redemption with rising star writer Vita Ayala (Supergirl) and artist Kano (Gotham Central)!
  • Collecting LIVEWIRE #5–8, the “Guardian” story arc.

$14.99 | 112 pages | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 11th | TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-326-0

PUNK MAMBO TPB

Advance solicited for October release
Written by CULLEN BUNN, PETER MILLIGAN
Art by ADAM GORHAM, ROBERT GILL
Cover by DAN BRERETON

  • In her first-ever solo series, hard-living voodoo priestess Punk Mambo investigates a series of abductions in the New Orleans gutter punk scene, stumbling upon a deadlier mystery that takes her to the haunted shores of Haiti.
  • From writer Cullen Bunn (Venom) and artist Adam Gorham (New Mutants: Dead Souls) comes this hilariously horrifying breakout adventure for Valiant’s fan-favorite mystic malcontent.
  • Collecting the complete PUNK MAMBO five-issue limited series, along with PUNK MAMBO #0 from writer Peter Milligan and artist Robert Gill.

$14.99 | 144 pages | T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 23rd | TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-330-7

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