The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Mico Suayan & CAFU
The modern Valiant Universe is still pretty young as far as continuity goes, so almost every new series is accessible to new readers. While there are a few exceptions, almost every new series is an excellent way to get to know some of the characters in one of the best superhero universes in comic books today. For longtime Valiant readers, there are books that focus on Toyo Harada.
Imperium is one of my favorite Valiant series, and it is also one of the most complicated. The series focused on Harada’s journey to accomplishing his vision of world peace and was an incredibly deep and complex read. Writer Joshua Dysart returns to write the next chapter of Harada’s life in The Life and Death of Toyo Harada, and it continues to cater to the most committed of Valiant fans. It isn’t exactly friendly to beginners, but the first issue is one of the finest in Valiant’s history.
Toyo Harada is absolutely a villain, but Dysart ensures that he is layered and believable. The first few pages of this issue give readers background on Harada’s childhood, with effective moments that drive the character’s motivations. While the introduction to Harada is nice for understanding the titular character, the rest of the issue is built off of Harbinger and Imperium, and those who aren’t familiar with the universe will find themselves lost when meeting the supporting cast. The Life and Death of Toyo Harada doesn’t read like a debut, but rather the return of a series that has been on hiatus.
Dysart throws a lot at the reader in the beginning, with spectacular moments that are defined by sensational art by CAFU and Mico Suayan. Bombs, space, scary monsters – This issue has it all. It all looks great, and the two artists complement each other well. Everything feels like it belongs together, and nothing is too jarring. There is little contrast between styles and everything feels grand. The characters have great poses and look great whether they are in action or going through wordy dialogue. The structure of the panels allow for the action to flow organically, allowing for the strong pacing to be matched with fine visuals.
The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 is a hard issue to describe to those who aren’t familiar with Toyo Harada comics. For fans of Imperium, this issue is nearly perfect. Everyone else should check out Harbinger and Imperium before trying this one because it isn’t great for beginners at all.
The Life and Death fo Toyo Harada #1
The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 is a hard issue to describe to those who aren't familiar with Toyo Harada comics. For fans of Imperium, this issue is nearly perfect. Everyone else should check out Harbinger and Imperium before trying this one because it isn't great for beginners at all.