Tag Archives: the life and death of toyo harada

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

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: 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)

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: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #4 (of 6)

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #4 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, DIEGO YAPUR
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by MICO SUAYAN
Cover B by KEN LASHLEY
Cover C by NEN CHANG
Pre-Order Edition Cover by CAFU
On sale June 12th, 2019
$4.99 | 40 pgs. | T+ | Full Color 

Wait, did THAT really just happen in the last cliffhanger? Oh, man… Can Toyo’s team recover 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 #4 (of 6)

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.

Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #3

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #3 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, ADAM POLLINA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE, KAT HUDSON
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by MICO SUAYAN
Cover B by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
Cover C by AJ JOTHIKUMAR
Pre-Order Edition Cover by CAFU
On sale May 15th, 2019
$4.99 | 40 pgs. | T+ | Full Color 

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…

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #3 (of 6)

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.

Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #2

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #2 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU and BUTCH GUICE
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVID SHARPE
Cover A by MICO SUAYAN
Cover B by ARIEL OLIVETTI
Cover C by DEAN HASPIEL
Pre-Order Edition by CAFU
On sale April 10, 2019
$4.99 | 40 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

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.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #2 (of 6)
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