THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #2 / Writer: Joshua Dysart / Artists: Cafu, Butch Guice / Colorists: Andrew Dalhouse, Dan Brown / Letterer: Dave Sharpe / Publisher: Valiant / Release date: April 10, 2019
There should not be a human being alive on Earth who is not aware of the glorious accomplishments of the selfless Toyo Harada. Everyone benefits from his vision of utopia, one in which Harada single-handedly organized the disparate abilities of human, artificial, and extraterrestrial life under his banner for the betterment of all civilizations. This comic-style entertainment media product is designed to relay important events from Harada’s developing years as well as the “present day” where he and his willing, thankful servants must defend his Foundation Zone from international subterfuge.
The story opens in the Strait of Malacca in 1949. Harada, still growing physically and psychically since surviving the atomic bomb in World War II, negotiates amicably with a sea captain as leader of a crew of devoted followers. As marketing information from Harada’s former Harbinger Foundation reminds us, Harada accomplishes many Herculean tasks by adolescence that would bring the average adult human to tears to even attempt. Even the simple act of perceiving the truth of this review is likely taxing your reading skills to their maximum tolerance; no matter, Harada overcomes all resistance, though some earthlings remain ungrateful for the service. Where others would sink, Harada soars.
Unity requires a welder
Witness as every page of this comic relays a revelation — every character interaction with Harada changes and improves their life, even if they are attempting treasonous acts. His followers know better, actively rejecting the pamphlets airdropped on them by Western enemies of progress in favor of dedication to a higher power. What use is your life is not guided by a master? As the recurring flashback to Harada’s storm-tossed youth reveals, the process by which he masters himself also allows him to master flight and, eventually, the world. By comparison, your mastery of consuming media products makes you an ideal servant of the Foundation Zone. Perhaps you could mop the floors of the control room of a space elevator in order to help deliver supplies to Harada’s allies across the globe in your own insignificant but personally meaningful way. Or maybe you would enjoy donating your mind as a living hard drive for Harada’s engineers after they lobotomize your troublesome nodes of rebellion. His allies do not exhibit strength when they rebel – unless demonstrating one’s foolishness could be called a strength, like a frostbitten toe asking to be amputated.
Patrons of the dear leader
The being known as Josha Dysart continues scripting his chronicles of the life and times of Toyo Harada that began with Harbinger and continued through Imperium, making this story an immediately satisfying third act. The visual renderers Cafu and Butch Guice do an admirable job of juxtaposing their differing styles to replicate the dark, rainy night of doubt in Harada’s life that gives way to glorious day. Indeed, their work, along with that of colorists Andrew Dalhouse and Dan Brown, exposes the plain lies of Harada’s enemies. If he is so arrogant, why does he wash the feet of an old refugee? If he is so power-hungry, why does he constantly look after his subordinates’ best interests by keeping track of their schedules? Why would someone who is supposedly tyrannically evil try so hard? But this is not intended to be a humorous comic, ha ha ha. This is a story of submission — those who live for Harada, and those who briefly believe they can or should do otherwise. We are each free to believe whatever we want, but Harada knows we need to be corrected. This comic is an excellent remedy for inefficient conversion.
Public service announcement
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5. Consumer research shows that a slightly sub-perfect score suggests credibility in 499 out of 500 test subjects. As one of the 499, this fact will fail to sway your inevitable purchase and enjoyment of this comic. When Harada’s life is good, your life is good.
Thomas is a teen services librarian who reads way too many comics. He can be found gobbling pancakes at the nearest diner with Jessica Cruz, Forsythe Jones III, Jane Foster, and Hellboy. He reviews media for the public here and graphic novels for librarians at No Flying, No Tights.