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The Thin Line Between Good And Evil: Toyo Harada

When you look at the typical comic book bad guy, there is often a clear cut case of black and white. Hero and villain. Good verses evil. This is never clearer when it comes to the Joker, or Sabretooth (although that has been known to be more in flux over the last half decade or so).  However with some antagonists it can be a bit murkier, sometimes a villain’s motivations are almost understandable when you take a moment to remove yourself from the hero’s narrative. When you look at the antagonist’s motivation removed from the protagonist’s story you can begin to see that when experienced from a different angle, these characters wouldn’t be seen as villains.

The Thin Line Between Good And Evil aims to take a look at the characters traditionally portrayed as villains within the world of nerd culture, primarily comics, and explore if it were their story we were reading, whether the villain would instead be seen as a hero.

Toyo Harada

This month, in honour of Valiant’s Hero Of The Week event, we’re taking a look at Toyo Harada.

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that Toyo Harada is just your standard evil overlord/CEO, but that would be doing a huge disservice to the character. Instead, it’d be slight more accurate to suggest he’s a blend of Professor Xavier and Magneto, but only in broad strokes.

Harada is a rare psiot born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers; within the Valiant Universe, most psiots are dormant until they’re activated – usually by an incredibly painful and risky procedure – but very few, often the most powerful, are born with their abilities activated. Harada’s abilities were activated by the nucleor weapon dropped on Hiroshima, and this understandably shaped a lot of the man he would become (explored in detail during The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada, though it is touched upon in Harbinger and Imperium briefly).

Toyo Harada is arguably one of Valiant Entertainment’s more complex characters. He is a Psiot using his incredible telekinetic and telepathic powers in order to shape the world into a better place for everyone by using his company’s immense wealth for philanthropic efforts. Harada’s methods haven’t always been perfectly angelic, and he exemplifies the phrase “the end justifies the means.” But his heart has always been in the right place.. his end goal is to end war, to which he conquered a small country… and then tried to turn it into a Utopian free state (in Imperium).

Toyo Harada

The more you learn about Toyo Harada, the more you realize that he’s far from an evil man. He spent decades trying to influence political policy, gradually and gently nudging the world in the direction of a Utopian future while gathering and training the smartest minds and craftspeople of their generation to further the technologies that humanity will come to rely on.

Only for some ungrateful little drug addict that wants to start to tear down everything you’ve worked for (which you can read all about in Harbinger). Now it wasn’t all Peter Stanchek’s fault; circumstances didn’t quite favour Harada. He’d spread himself too thin, and eventually the final straw landed upon his back and things started to fall apart, but one has to wonder whether things would have been different if not for Stancheck. Whether Harada could have continued to guide the world in the shadows rather than forcibly showing governments how to create a self sustaining society.

But this column isn’t about recapping the man’s history; there’s a great resource here if that’s all you want to know, or you can check out the links below with the first volume of Harbinger, which kicks the saga off.

Instead, we’re here to look at why Toyo Harada is considered a villain, and I genuinely think it’s because of how he’s been framed in stories. When reading Harbinger, you’re following the story of Peter Stanchek and the Renegades. In X-O Manowar and Unity you’re naturally rooting for X-O because of Harada’s desire to acquire the armour whilst also preventing a cataclysmic confrontation.

Toyo Harada

If it wasn’t for that, and his penchant for making some questionable decisions in pursuit of (what he believes to be) the greater good, then I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in viewing Toyo Harada as Valiant’s greatest hero. He’s doing what he feels he needs to do to save the world, despite our best efforts to the contrary. He’s been working for decades to make the world a better place, and in the grander scope of things he forms the question: can we save ourselves, even if we wanted to?

That’s what this really comes down to; as a global society, are we really capable of lifting the most unfortunate and desperate members up and coming together to save ourselves? Toyo Harada clearly doesn’t think so, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Toyo Harada is the villain we need to save our world.

And he’ll do it, by any means necessary.


Read the start of Toyo Harada’s story here:

Purchase: Amazon – Kindle – comiXology – TFAWBookshop

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.

Underrated: Imperium

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 Imperium


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. Until very recently, I had not read Imperium. While I have had access to the review copies for years, I had long decided that I would rather read the story in print form so I was waiting to pick up the deluxe hard cover edition of Imperium from my LCS. A couple weeks ago, I finally ordered it.

It cost me $65 before taxes and it was worth every penny.

There are easy comparisons to make between the Harbinger story and that of the X-Men, between Toyo Harada and Magneto; an incredibly powerful man who wants peace at any cost. The truth is when I was reading the book there are obvious similarities to the X-Books. Especially now that the X-Men have their own nation state, which is where Imperium finds Toyo Harada and his Foundation.

Joshua Dysart pulls the sixteen issue story in from various places in the Valiant universe, touching upon characters that will be familiar if you have read the previous Harbinger run that I spoke about (again) last week. If you haven’t read those books it shouldn’t be a big deal – the story is told in a way that it can be read alone, but you’ll miss out on some context here and there (and a great build up) if you skip what came before.

Watching Harada build his nation state free of scarcity while fighting the countries that are trying to stop him over the course of sixteen issues is fascinating. We watch him take some extraordinary measures to ensure that he is left alone, and we wonder whether the man is truly as philanthropic and good as his ideal seems or is he as self serving as he sometimes appears?

Although the book is told from Harada’s perspective Dysart never quite leaves you confident that you should be rooting exclusively for him. Should he be stopped? Or does his means justify the ends?

What makes this such a great story is that Dysart has balanced the antagonists so well that nobody seems to be explicitly evil aside from a certain corporation out exclusively for profit, which illustrates the nobility behind Harada’s ideal while underscoring the capitalist nature of our society. There are so many different aspects to this story; the concept of artificial intelligence becoming sentient, does anybody ever truly have free will, the balance of sacrifice for progression of the greater good. What devils do you have to make a deal with?

When it comes to everybody else in this book you have to wonder whether you should root for anyone.

Joshua Dysart’s writing will educate you, encouraging you to think and develop yourself all while delivering one of the greatest stories in comics. That sentence was as true for Harbinger as it is for Imperium. He has a unique ability to distill a greater political and ideological idea down into a story that will never overwhelm a reader but also leaves you thinking about the nature of the politics involved long after the cover has been closed.

Whether this story is one told from the villain’s perspective as he tries to achieve his goals having convinced his followers they are doing the right thing or if it is story about a hero who faces insurmountable odds as he tries to make the world a better place will differ on how you read the book.

And that, for me, makes it an utter masterpiece.

This series is the subject of today’s Underrated because I had long heard how brilliant the story was from others who have read the book so I ended up reading 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. I hope that changes. Especially after the last week with the publisher focusing on the character this week.

Valiant Hero Of The Week: Toyo Harada

Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Toyo Harada, Father, Eidolon and Master Darque.

Valiant Hero of the Week

This week’s winner was…

Toyo Harada

Toyo Harada

Who is he? One of the most complicated and interesting characters in comics, this is a man who has lived through utter horror and who just happens to be one of the most powerful people in the world. Toyo Harada is the kind of character that lives in the moral grey area; more often than not, I’ve found myself actually agreeing with and rooting for him, because his entire raison d’etre is to secure peace and improve the lives of people at any cost. Initially, he’s subtle and manipulates world events behind the scenes… but eventually Toyo Harada wages war on the world. He’s introduced in Harbinger, and so a lot of the stories that you’ve seen recommended in Peter Stanchek‘s spotlight you could expect to see for Toyo Harada.

What should you read?

Here’s the thing to be aware of here; Joshua Dysart’s epic run with the character starts in volume one of Harbinger. If you jump into the story later on, it will be tough to enjoy it and/or get. So when I’m recommending the first book below, I’m actually encouraging you to read the entire story that spreads across Imperium and The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada. You can read those two series independently, but this is a story designed to be read in publication order. That said, I’ll still include the opening trade to Imperium and the Life And Death trade below.

Harbinger: Omega Rising

A better future. Or no future at all.

Harbinger: Omega Rising

Super-powered teenager Peter Stanchek is on a dangerous path. Skipping across the country in a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, Peter is quickly realizing that he’s a psionically-charged “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. But Peter’s plight has not gone unnoticed. Respected philanthropist and fellow harbinger Toyo Harada is about to offer Peter the chance at the things for which the boy has always longed — family, inner peace, self-control — and induct him into the sprawling, secret network of conspiracy and subversion known as the Harbinger Foundation. Now Peter begins his long road towards a destiny that will shake the very foundations of the Valiant Universe. His first lesson? All power comes with a price.


This volume kicks off an epic tale by Joshua Dysart that spans Harbinger and Imperium, and because I devoured the first twenty issues in two days I don’t really remember exactly what happened in the first volume, so I took the above text directly from Valiant’s website.

Purchase: Amazon – Kindle – comiXology – TFAWBookshop

Imperium: Collecting Monsters

A psychic dictator, an inhuman robot, a mad scientist, a murderous alien, and a superpowered terrorist are about to try and take over the world…and you’re going to be rooting for them every step of the way!

Imperium: Collecting Monsters

Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet. Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous, and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now! 


This is honestly one of my favourite Valiant stories. It tells the tale of Toyo Harada’s attempt to create a paradise for those willing to work. Yes, he invaded a country to do so, but his goal is to create a world without hunger and sickness. By any means necessary.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWBookshop

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada

In 1945, the bombing of Hiroshima awakened an immense and terrifying power inside young Toyo Harada, a power that he could one day use to build a better world.

With the existence of superpowered psiots revealed to the world and his Harbinger Foundation left in ruins, Harada has been run to ground, and the world’s most powerful man is about to become its most dangerous…

Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart (HARBINGER) returns to the Valiant Universe alongside CAFU (RAI) and a lineup of all-star Valiant artists for a sweeping, continent-spanning chronicle of Toyo Harada’s last gambit to remake Earth in his own utopian image…or sacrifice everything in the process.


The culmination of Joshua Dysart’s run with the character, this is a great story if you haven’t read the other book, but it’s beyond compare if you have.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWBookshop


It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.


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.

Our Favorite Toyo Harada Covers

The supervillain Toyo Harada gets the spotlight this week as the winner of Valiant‘s “Hero of the Week“. Fans chose him over Father, Master Darque, and Eidolon, and we (well, me) thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite covers featuring the character. All of these covers will be post the 2012 relaunch of Valiant and are shown in no particular order.

The below covers are some of the most striking, iconic or just plain cool images featuring Toyo Harada from Imperium and Life And Death Of Toyo Harada.

Sound off on your favorite covers below!

Underrated: Imperium

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 Imperium


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. Until very recently, I had not read Imperium. While I have had access to the review copies for years, I had long decided that I would rather read the story in print form so I was waiting to pick up the deluxe hard cover edition of Imperium from my LCS. A couple weeks ago, I finally ordered it.

It cost me $65 before taxes and it was worth every penny.

There are easy comparisons to make between the Harbinger story and that of the X-Men, between Toyo Harada and Magneto; an incredibly powerful man who wants peace at any cost. The truth is when I was reading the book there are obvious similarities to the X-Books. Especially now that the X-Men have their own nation state, which is where Imperium finds Toyo Harada and his Foundation.

Joshua Dysart pulls the sixteen issue story in from various places in the Valiant universe, touching upon characters that will be familiar if you have read the previous Harbinger run that I spoke about (again) last week. If you haven’t read those books it shouldn’t be a big deal – the story is told in a way that it can be read alone, but you’ll miss out on some context here and there (and a great build up) if you skip what came before.

Watching Harada build his nation state free of scarcity while fighting the countries that are trying to stop him over the course of sixteen issues is fascinating. We watch him take some extraordinary measures to ensure that he is left alone, and we wonder whether the man is truly as philanthropic and good as his ideal seems or is he as self serving as he sometimes appears?

Although the book is told from Harada’s perspective Dysart never quite leaves you confident that you should be rooting exclusively for him. Should he be stopped? Or does his means justify the ends?

What makes this such a great story is that Dysart has balanced the antagonists so well that nobody seems to be explicitly evil aside from a certain corporation out exclusively for profit, which illustrates the nobility behind Harada’s ideal while underscoring the capitalist nature of our society. There are so many different aspects to this story; the concept of artificial intelligence becoming sentient, does anybody ever truly have free will, the balance of sacrifice for progression of the greater good. What devils do you have to make a deal with?

When it comes to everybody else in this book you have to wonder whether you should root for anyone.

Joshua Dysart’s writing will educate you, encouraging you to think and develop yourself all while delivering one of the greatest stories in comics. That sentence was as true for Harbinger as it is for Imperium. He has a unique ability to distill a greater political and ideological idea down into a story that will never overwhelm a reader but also leaves you thinking about the nature of the politics involved long after the cover has been closed.

Whether this story is one told from the villain’s perspective as he tries to achieve his goals having convinced his followers they are doing the right thing or if it is story about a hero who faces insurmountable odds as he tries to make the world a better place will differ on how you read the book.

And that, for me, makes it an utter masterpiece.

This series is the subject of today’s Underrated because I had long ehard how brilliant the story was from others who have read the book so I ended up reading 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. I hope that changes.

Underrated: Harbinger

I was going to write about Imperium this week, but I haven’t finished the hardcover book I picked up Wednesday from my LCS. So instead of rushing a column on a book that deserves a lot more attention than I’d have time to give it, I decided to rerun a column about the series preceeding Imperium.


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.


As an addendum to this column, I’d like to say that The Life and Death of Toyo Harada was every bit as good as I hoped. Yes, I am aware that reading the end before the middle isn’t always ideal, but c’est la vie.

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.

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.

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.

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