The Life and Death of Toyo Harada No. 1 review: The makings of a villain


Valiant Comics releases a new series about its psiot villain. Find out all you need to know about him in The Life and Death of Toyo Harada.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada No. 1

Writer: Joshua Dysart

Artist: Cafu, Mico Suayan

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #1 – Cover A by Mico Suayan (Credit: Valiant Comics)

The central villain for the psiots in the Valiant Universe has always been Toyo Harada. He is pretty much the epitome of evil, but what made him that way? Over the years, readers have been given an inkling about the man, but Valiant has now debuted a new limited issue series that will delve deeper into The Life and Death of Toyo Harada.

We received an early working copy of the first issue, and it didn’t disappoint. Toyo Harada was born to loving parents in Hiroshima 1936. Soon after, his father died in the second World War, and his mother perished in the US bombings of his city. This is the spark that ignites Harada’s mission to save the world. Writer Joshua Dysart then hurtles straight into Harada’s central philosophy of wanting peace, and juxtaposing it with the realities of the world he ends up creating as an adult. Harada is a walking contradiction, and suffice to say, his idea of peace doesn’t match ours.

In the present storyline of The Life and Death of Toyo Harada No. 1, Harada is seen as a destructive force causing civil wars and partisanship on a global scale. He is intent on co-opting an alien debris ring for his personal use. This realization brings out his arch business nemesis, Rising Spirit, who frequently attacks his base. Toyo Harada has a team of psiots and non-psiots at his disposal, but there is growing animosity between them. What will strife among the team mean for Harada and his plans?

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This first issue was packed with details about Harada’s past and present, and while it is a thrilling introduction to the Valiant-verse, it is clearly written for readers who are aware of the Harbinger series. For those not in the know, Harada’s powers aren’t made clear in this installment, nor is his influence. To gain a proper understanding of that, readers will probably have to stick around for the next five issues.

And they probably will. The Life and Death of Toyo Harada No. 1 is a good teaser that sets up the central premise and antagonist of the series. Toyo Harada is the kind of villain who always has a plan. As the most powerful psiot in the world, he is several steps ahead of everyone else and this gives him supreme confidence in his abilities. Of course, that doesn’t stop the good guys from eventually getting him, but readers are sure to find out all about his downfall before the series ends.

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But will readers get to meet other characters from Harada’s colourful comic book existence? It would be exciting if the Harbingers cameoed, alongside other Harbinger Foundation members like Livewire. And one is certain the Bleeding Monk will appear in some form or the other, considering what a useful asset he was to Harada’s rise to the top. The potential for this series is immense, and readers will have to wait to find out if the creators fulfil it.

Valiant Comics’ The Life and Death of Toyo Harada No. 1 is out on March 13.