Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Joshua Dysart
Penciled by Scot Eaton
Inked by Livesay
Coloured by Brian Reber
Toyo Harada is a very scary man. He’s dead set on changing the world for the better, his version of better, and anyone who attempts to stand in his way had better be prepared to face his wrath and his hit squad. He’s a maniacal and diabolical despot of the worst kind and makes for absolutely incredibly fun reading. It’s like the worst mankind has to offer is the most interesting to write about because in his own mind he can do no wrong and everything is justifiable.
Gravedog is back with Project Rising Son and Director Kozol proves he’s pretty much an ineffectual leader, he’s arrogant, cocky and completely out his league running the show. Aside from his attitude which really wow it’s exactly what you’d expect of an up and comer without any real experience in the field but it still kind of shocked me just how much I don’t like the man. Joshua really fleshing things out nicely here and while on an intellectual level you understand who the good guys and bad guys are the lines in personalities are blurred so that it seems that if either side wins it’s damned if you damned if you don’t.
Scott, Livesay and Brian work together extremely well here. I am pretty impressed, on the verge of blown away, by what they did this issue visually. That ridiculous helmet Kozol wears and demands everyone wears standing out like a sore thumb to the Lord-Vine 99 creature they do this work that has an impact upon the reader and leaves such an impression that you won’t soon forget keeping this book, the story and the artwork with you long after you are done reading it. Plus their vision of Angela this issue creeps the hell out of me more so than anything else we see including Lord-Vine 99.
I am also a huge fan of how Joshua told the story this issue as well. The first fourteen pages dedicated to seeing things from Kozol’s point of view and the second half of the story are the exact same sequence of events from Harada’s viewpoint. So we see what the clues we should have looked for when Kozol was acting crazy to everyone else aboard the vessel. It also kind of changes your opinion slightly of the Kozol, mind you I said slightly.
When we hit the same point in both versions things get really interesting, not that they weren’t already but wow. Seeing that Harada’s own people don’t exactly trust or care for him is delightful and Lord-Vine 99 was ready to kill him it all makes this more complicated. Though to see Lord-Vine 99 chasing Kozol down all the while Angela knows everything that’s happening plus you’ve got Gravedog running loose under Harada’s control making things even more interestingly complex. There’s nothing average or ordinary about this story which makes it one of the reasons why it’s among the strongest out today and why Valiant is blazing a new and powerful future for itself.
This book really is over the edge creepy and exciting in ways that may not be obvious at first glance but increase as the issue progresses. The fight for control of the world is well underway and the ebb and flow of who’s going to come out on top keeps you guessing what’s going to happen next. Forget the roller coaster ride this is an open ocean jet skiing for the first time kind of thrill.