Tag Archives: joshua dysart

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #1

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #1

The Atomic Age. 

Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart returns to the Valiant Universe to continue crafting Toyo Harada’s controversial mission to save humanity from itself. Presented in an oversized format and featuring a lineup of all-star artists, including Mico Suayan, CAFU, and more, The Life and Death of Toyo Harada will place the planet’s most powerful man in the spotlight as he strives to control the course of history. But with the menacing mastermind’s resources dwindling after the downfall of the Harbinger Foundation and a target on his head, will the formidable psiot re-emerge as humanity’s greatest hero…or its most dangerous villain?

There are moments in a comics reviewer’s life when he must remember that he’s supposed to think critically about a comic. One of those moments came about five minutes after finishing this book and after staring at the screen digesting the pages that had just been read, and the only possible thing that can be held against The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 is that if you aren’t slightly familiar with the character’s story, specifically the events of Harbinger and Imperium then this book may not have the same impact on you. I say “slightly familiar” because I haven’t finished Imperium myself, and it has been far too long since I read Harbinger (though the collected editions are next to me waiting to be read for an upcoming, or old because it will have already been published, Underrated column), and I was still able to get lost in the first issue.

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often. He 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. Indeed, the more I read about and the more I read that featured Harada, the more I began to question whether he was really a villain verses a hero with questionable methods. During the opening of this comic you’re able to make the same determination as we get glimpses of Harada’s life in the moments and years after the bombing of Hiroshima, so if you’re unfamiliar with the character you’re able to get a good feel for who he is and what he’s capable of without spending days reading back issues (although I would recommend you do this if you’re able).

That said, the review copy I read didn’t have a recap page, but the full print issue may very well have one, in which case bump the final score up a little.

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, to borrow a baseball term, the book is a four run homer. Or something – baseball was never really my jam (hockey, however, is another story). When Cafu‘s name is attached to a comic, you know the art will be fantastic – the same is also true for Mico Suayan. Between the two artists, there’s a dynamic visual one-two punch that will leave you reeling as we move from Hiroshima before and after the bomb to the far reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. It’s a visually impressive book that doesn’t let your eyes rest for a moment. There are details in the comic that may take a second read to discover (the subtle nod to a certain Marvelous metal manipulator, a character with whom Harada shares some moral similarities, springs to mind), and some page layouts that are really fun to behold.

Although it’s still too early to call this series a masterpiece, if the quality remains consistent for the next five issues, then I won’t have any hesitation in doing so. Is it the best place to start reading about Toyo Harada? Probably not, but this is a shining light on 2019 the comic book landscape, and firmly establishes the miniseries as a solid early contender for this reviewer’s Best of 2019 list.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu and Mico Suayan
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse 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.

Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 (of 6)

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #1 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, MICO SUAYAN
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by MICO SUAYAN
Cover B by BEN HARVEY
Cover C by DAVID MACK
Glass Variant Cover by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Pre-order Variant Cover by CAFU
Blank Cover Also Available
On sale March 13, 2019

The Atomic Age. 

Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart (HARBINGER, HARBINGER WARS) returns to the Valiant Universe to continue crafting Toyo Harada’s controversial mission to save humanity from itself. Presented in an oversized format and featuring a lineup of all-star artists, including Mico Suayan (BLOODSHOT SALVATION), CAFU (RAI), and more, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA will place the planet’s most powerful man in the spotlight as he strives to control the course of history. But with the menacing mastermind’s resources dwindling after the downfall of the Harbinger Foundation and a target on his head, will the formidable psiot re-emerge as humanity’s greatest hero…or its most dangerous villain?

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #1 (of 6)

Review: Goodnight Paradise

VENICE BEACH, CALIFORNIA
SUN. SURF. SEX. MONEY. MURDER.

After finding the body of a murdered teenage runaway, a homeless man vows to bring her killer to justice.

Writer: Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier, B.P.R.D.)
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli (The Dark Knight, Unknown Soldier)
Color Artist: Giulia Brusco (Django Unchained, Scalped)
Letterer: Steve Wands (Batman, Descender)

Order yours now!

Valiant Reveals The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 Glass Variant Cover

Valiant Entertainment has revealed a first look at The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 Glass Variant, which mimics an antique mirror and features a reflective surface! The dynamic image was illustrated by extraordinary artist Doug Braithwaite and crafted by Valiant Director of Design and Production, Travis Escarfullery.

In The Life and Death of Toyo Harada, Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart returns to the Valiant Universe to continue crafting Harada’s controversial mission to save humanity from itself. Presented in an oversized format and featuring a lineup of all-star artists including CAFU, Mico SuayanButch GuiceAdam PollinaDiego Yapur, Kano, and Doug Braithwaite – the first issue in the six-issue series is available to pre-order now at comic book stores everywhere in advance of its March 13, 2019 premiere date! Along with the Glass Variant Cover, The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 features covers by Mico SuayanBen Harvey, and David Mack. A Pre-order Edition cover by Suayan and a blank cover are also available. Final orders are due by February 25, 2019.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada will place the planet’s most powerful man in the spotlight as he strives to control the course of history. But with the menacing mastermind’s resources dwindling after the downfall of the Harbinger Foundation and a target on his head, will the formidable psiot re-emerge as humanity’s greatest hero…or its most dangerous villain?

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 Glass Variant
The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 Glass Variant
The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 Glass Variant

Valiant Heads to ComicsPRO 2019 for a Toyo Harada Wake

Valiant Entertainment is heading to the 13th Annual ComicsPRO meeting taking place February 21-23 in Charlotte, NC with a bunch of cool freebies and an unforgettable celebration of the world’s most powerful man.

Valiant will host an hourlong reception for ComicsPRO attendees to celebrate the life of Toyo Harada from 7:30-8:30 pm on Friday, February 22nd. Guests will receive a Valiant tie and in memoriam cards and have a chance to sign the late Mr. Harada’s guest book. Funeral attire is encouraged but not required. It’s what the late and great Mr. Harada would want, after all. He may be gone, but his memory lives on in The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 by Joshua Dysart and CAFU, on sale March 13th.

ComicsPRO attendees will also receive “Welcome Bags” from Valiant and even more retailer-exclusive goodies during roundtable chats with Valiant staff. Want to relieve some stress? Squeeze a chunk of New Japan with the Fallen World stress ball, based on the upcoming series by Dan Abnett and Adam Pollina debuting on May 1st. Need to jot down some important secrets? Use the Fallen World pen! And after a long day, unwind with the Fallen World shot glass.

Show the world you rock by sporting a Punk Mambo pin, based on the gritty new series debuting April 24th by Cullen Bunn and Adam Gorham. Or use the Punk Mambo pink highlighter to brighten your scribbles on The Forgotten Queen sticky notes, based on the phenomenal new series by Tini Howard and Amilcar Pinna coming out on February 27th. There may or may not be some other fun items. (Spoiler: There are.)

While these items are for attending ComicsPRO retailers only, fans who wish to obtain any of these cool collectibles should check if their local comic shop is a member of ComicsPRO and planning to attend the annual meeting.

Early Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 (of 6)

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #1 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, MICO SUAYAN
Cover A by MICO SUAYAN
Cover B by BEN HARVEY
Cover C by DAVID MACK
Glass Variant Cover by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Pre-order Variant Cover by CAFU
Blank Cover Also Available
On sale March 13, 2019

The Atomic Age. 

Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart (HARBINGER, HARBINGER WARS) returns to the Valiant Universe to continue crafting Toyo Harada’s controversial mission to save humanity from itself. Presented in an oversized format and featuring a lineup of all-star artists, including Mico Suayan (BLOODSHOT SALVATION), CAFU (RAI), and more, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA will place the planet’s most powerful man in the spotlight as he strives to control the course of history. But with the menacing mastermind’s resources dwindling after the downfall of the Harbinger Foundation and a target on his head, will the formidable psiot re-emerge as humanity’s greatest hero…or its most dangerous villain?

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #1 (of 6)

Advance Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #1

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #1

The Atomic Age. 

Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart returns to the Valiant Universe to continue crafting Toyo Harada’s controversial mission to save humanity from itself. Presented in an oversized format and featuring a lineup of all-star artists, including Mico Suayan, CAFU, and more, The Life and Death of Toyo Harada will place the planet’s most powerful man in the spotlight as he strives to control the course of history. But with the menacing mastermind’s resources dwindling after the downfall of the Harbinger Foundation and a target on his head, will the formidable psiot re-emerge as humanity’s greatest hero…or its most dangerous villain?

There are moments in a comics reviewer’s life when he must remember that he’s supposed to think critically about a comic. One of those moments came about five minutes after finishing this book and after staring at the screen digesting the pages that had just been read, and the only possible thing that can be held against The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 is that if you aren’t slightly familiar with the character’s story, specifically the events of Harbinger and Imperium then this book may not have the same impact on you. I say “slightly familiar” because I haven’t finished Imperium myself, and it has been far too long since I read Harbinger (though the collected editions are next to me waiting to be read for an upcoming, or old because it will have already been published, Underrated column), and I was still able to get lost in the first issue.

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often. He 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. Indeed, the more I read about and the more I read that featured Harada, the more I began to question whether he was really a villain verses a hero with questionable methods. During the opening of this comic you’re able to make the same determination as we get glimpses of Harada’s life in the moments and years after the bombing of Hiroshima, so if you’re unfamiliar with the character you’re able to get a good feel for who he is and what he’s capable of without spending days reading back issues (although I would recommend you do this if you’re able).

That said, the review copy I read didn’t have a recap page, but the full print issue may very well have one, in which case bump the final score up a little.

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, to borrow a baseball term, the book is a four run homer. Or something – baseball was never really my jam (hockey, however, is another story). When Cafu‘s name is attached to a comic, you know the art will be fantastic – the same is also true for Mico Suayan. Between the two artists, there’s a dynamic visual one-two punch that will leave you reeling as we move from Hiroshima before and after the bomb to the far reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. It’s a visually impressive book that doesn’t let your eyes rest for a moment. There are details in the comic that may take a second read to discover (the subtle nod to a certain Marvelous metal manipulator, a character with whom Harada shares some moral similarities, springs to mind), and some page layouts that are really fun to behold.

Although it’s still too early to call this series a masterpiece, if the quality remains consistent for the next five issues, then I won’t have any hesitation in doing so. Is it the best place to start reading about Toyo Harada? Probably not, but this is a shining light on 2019 the comic book landscape, and firmly establishes the miniseries as a solid early contender for this reviewer’s Best of 2019 list.

The comic comes to shelves March 13, 2019.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu and Mico Suayan
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse 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.

Underrated: Harbinger

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: the comic book publisher Harbinger


When Valiant Entertainment relaunched in 2012, one of the four books that the publisher started with was Harbinger. Arguably one of Valiant’s signature books, the original series launched in the 90’s with the publisher’s first incarnation. I have never read the 90’s series in full, but have dabbled in an issue here or there (specifically the two that contained chapters of the multi-book crossover Unity). I have, however, read the entirety of the modern Harbinger run, and own a smattering of individual comics and the three deluxe hardcovers containing the story; Harbinger Deluxe Edition One, Harbinger  Deluxe Edition  Two and Harbinger Wars 
Deluxe Edition. The latter also contains four issues of Bloodshot that tie into the Harbinger Wars miniseries – also four issues. The series is also collected in trade paperback as well (though I have no idea how many volumes). I realize I’m rambling at this point, so I’ll get back on to the subject at hand.

It would be easy to compare Harbinger to the various X-Men comics Marvel has released through the years; both feature teenagers with powers originating from a a genetic difference (although Valiant’s psiots need to be activated through risky painful procedures or times of extreme stress whereas Marvel’s mutants just need to hit puberty), and both have a villain character who is more complicated than you would initially expect. While the comparison is justified, it also does a disservice to the Harbinger comics to write them off as another publisher’s X-Men imitation.

Especially because Joshua Dysart’s run on the series (which also include Imperium, which I have inexplicably not finished yet) deals with some really interesting concepts that you don’t often find elsewhere. It’s for this reason that I hold his run as some of the very best team based comics that been published in the last ten years (honestly, I’d also go so far as to say that I’ve ever read).

The characters are wonderfully deep and complex, some are flawed and broken, searching for a redemption that may never come; others are desperately trying to make the world a better place no matter the cost; one wants to destroy a shadowy organization that may or may not have more worldly influence than they should regardless of the cost; and one wants to be a bonafide superhero in a world in which right and wrong and good and evil are not always on the same side. The series, at its most simple description, can be boiled down to two incredibly power psiots, Peter Stanchek and Toyo Harada having a disagreement, and at the outset you know who fills the typical hero/villain positions, but after a few issues you’ll begin to question who you should root for.

Should you root for anyone?

Dysart’s story is a wondrous thing. In giving us a gripping and emotional tale about people who just happen to be caught up in events, people who are just reacting – and not always well – to the stimuli around them, some of whom are super powered, he also leaves us questioning the traditional role of the hero and villain. Much like Magneto and Professor X were allegories for Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 60’s, Stanchek and Harada represent the world we live in today; shades of grey where ethically and morally questionable decisions are made by the people we’re supposed to hold in high esteem. Dysart uses these characters to remind us that beneath the power, the people we follow are just as flawed as the next person. Stanchek, with his position as a hero within the book, has made some pretty fucking awful decisions – ones where forgiveness shouldn’t be given lightly – but then is Harada any better?

We’re only scratching the surface here (and honestly, only the first trade or so if you’re going the non-deluxe route), and Dysart doesn’t let up throughout the run. His writing will educate you, encouraging you to think and develop yourself all while delivering one of the greatest stories in comics.

I don’t mean to discount the artistic contributions to the book, and it may seem that I have, but Harbinger, like almost every Valiant book, features some consistently brilliant artwork by artists, colourists and letterers that will have you asking why you hadn’t heard of them before (since the series wrapped, some have gone on to become more familiar to comic fans in general). I remember reading the comics for the first time and being in awe of what I was seeing; Harbinger remains one of the only series which I have framed on my wall simply because the interlocking covers to issues 7-10 by Mico Suayan are so damn pretty.

The art more than balances the story, which is an impressive feat.

This series is the subject of today’s Underrated because I had forgotten how amazing it was until I sat down and read the full run in almost a single sitting. And I realized that I seldom hear people talk about Valiant’s Harbinger comics, or Toyo Harada. With one of the most complex and interesting characters in the medium getting a six issue miniseries this year, I hope that changes.

Do yourselves a favour, add The Life and Death of Toyo Harada to your pull list now. Preorder the series because, and I say this after having read the first issue already, it’s going to be amazing.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1-6 Gets a Pre-Order Bundle

Valiant has announced that The Life and Death of Toyo Harada – the much-anticipated limited series by Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart and a lineup of all-star artists – including CAFUMico SuayanButch GuiceAdam PollinaDiego Yapur, Kano, and Doug Braithwaite – is available to pre-order now at comic book stores everywhere in advance of its March 13, 2019 premiere date!

Available only as a pre-order set, The Life and Death of Toyo Harada Pre-Order Edition Bundle – six massively expanded editions of the most powerful man on the planet’s campaign to better humankind, no matter what the cost – can only be ordered together and must be reserved with your local comic shop by the final order cut-off date of February 18th, 2019!

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada will place the menacing mastermind in the spotlight as he strives to control the course of history. But with his resources dwindling after the downfall of the Harbinger Foundation and a target on his head, will the formidable psiot re-emerge as humanity’s greatest hero…or its most dangerous villain?

Released monthly from March 2019 through August 2019, each 48-page PRE-ORDER EDITION issue comes packed with trade paperback-style extras and bonus content – including creator commentary, behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of the comics, process character designs, first looks at upcoming issues, and exclusive covers by interior artist CAFU that can’t be found anywhere else – and for no additional cost!

The only way to obtain these exclusive items is to pre-order all six issues with your local comic shop by the final order cut-off date of February 18th, 2019! No more copies will be made available beyond that date and subsequent issues will not be offered in later solicitations!

Valaint Reveals Breakthrough, their 2019 Lineup

Breakthrough is a boundary-shattering lineup of new #1s from Valiant Entertainment that will serve as perfect jumping-on points for new fans while expanding the shared universe. Breakthrough offers every reader four new gateways to the rich storytelling of Valiant.

Breaking through this March is the previously announced The Life and Death of Toyo Harada– a heart-wrenching, character-driven tale about the world’s most powerful superhuman facing his final battle – coming from Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart and a rotating cast of awe-inspiring artists, including CAFUMico SuayanLewis LaRosa, and Adam Pollina.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada

From the twisted minds of Cullen Bunn and Adam Gorham comes the debut of Punk Mambo in April. This five-issue limited series, about a British voodoo priestess lurking just outside of New Orleans, unleashes a supernatural adventure with equal parts terror and humor.

Punk Mambo

Fallen World by mastermind writer Dan Abnett and astonishing artist Adam Pollina is a five-issue event series beginning in May that will pull readers into a captivating cyberpunk future unlike any they’ve ever seen before. In the year 4002 AD, the cyborg samurai called Rai will face an impossible battle for the fate of humanity.

Fallen World

The slate races forward with Killers from acclaimed writer B. Clay Moore and energetic artist Fernando Dagnino, a non-stop thrill ride as the deadliest superspies on the planet compete to claim the ultimate prize, coming in July.

Killers

Four new series, four boundary-breaking tales to experience. New fans will love the wide range of stories and genres, while Valiant superfans will make new discoveries about their favorite characters. BREAKTHROUGH will propel Valiant into its breathtaking second half of 2019, featuring surprises, returns, and reveals that longtime fans have been demanding!

« Older Entries