The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 (Valiant Comics)
Ever since their relaunch a few years ago, Valiant Comics has shown no signs of slowing down. From X-O Manowar to Bloodshot, the publisher is constantly releasing new and continuing series revolving around their diverse set of characters. Yet they’ve rarely focused on their villains, until now. With the release of The Life and Death of Toyo Harada, the publisher, along with writer Joshua Dysart and artists Cafu and Mico Suayan, finally reveal the backstory behind one of the premiere villains of the Valiant Universe.
Set years before his appearance in the pages of Harbinger, The Life and Death of Toyo Harada details the backstory of the villain, who grew up during World War II in Japan. After his father dies in combat, Toyo and his mother witness the bombing of Hiroshima, which unleashes a great and powerful ability within Toyo. A power that allows him to read minds and control matter, and, by seeking out others like him, makes him believe that he can alter the course of human history.
Joshua Dysart is no stranger to the world of Valiant Comics, so the fact that he slides right into this script is no surprise. What is surprising though, is how new reader friendly his opening issue is. As someone who’s never read any of Valiant’s Harbinger series, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to jump in Toyo. Luckily for me, Dysart’s script is very new ready friendly, allowing you to quickly pick up on what makes this character click.
Valiant has made a name for themselves by not skimping on the art budget for their comics, and the work of Cafu and Mic Suayan is no exception. Their style is very much in the same line as titles like Bloodshot and X-O Manowar, with a very sleek and clean design, but at not point does it feel like it was an assembly line creation. Their work is effective and fits very well with Dysart’s script, even if it feels a little interchangeable from the art of other Valiant works.
The Life and Death of Toyo Harada is a pretty interesting look into the mind of a villain, and while I’m not sure I’ll keep up with the series, I gotta commend Valiant for making their universe of titles really new reader friendly. While they pump out new number ones every few months like the “big two” publishers, I have to say, it’s way easier to jump into a Valiant title than it is any others. As long as they keep that up, I see no reason not to think that they could continue to make great strides in the world of the comics.