Reviewing Valiant’s Rai #4

GameStop, Inc.

RAI_004_COVER_CRAINRai #4 simultaneously finishes the first volume of Rai and sets things up for the second volume which begins in December. Rai, having abruptly learned the truth about his origins in the last issue is teetering on the edge of insanity. Spylocke, who claims to have been friends with previous incarnations of Rai, is prepared to kill him before he destroys anyone else; Lula argues against it. The issue also provides more information on the relationship between Japan and Earth in 4001 BC.

Rai chooses sides here, and a little more background on how and why would not be amiss: At the moment, each side has equally valid—and equally crazed—claims to validity. Is it just that he likes one group better than another?

Kindt continues to show the emotional trauma well, giving a sense of Rai’s conflict as he processes the information that he is more human than he thought and that Father has not given him the complete story of his creation. Lula’s love of archaic communication, which began to be truly useful in the last issue, continues to be helpful giving her something to contribute to the revolution—assuming she wants one; although she has been shown to love chronicling things and to hero-worship Rai, her views otherwise have not tended toward the revolutionary. Hopefully future issues will give her some more depth as she is clearly set to be an important part of the tale.

Crain’s art continues to be a joy, and this issue allows him to showcase yet more regions of 4001’s Japan as Rai runs through multiple landscapes and territories in search of answers. The backgrounds, clothing styles, and crowds are meticulously designed to give the world a futuristic, lived in look. The painterly style is also simply beautiful.

Kindt and Crain have designed a new future out of Valiant’s present. Outside of the pressing plot questions, which have me waiting eagerly for December, I wonder about a score of smaller things: What is “a pool of Livewire”? How do it and the other casually referred to “Livewire” devices relate to the Livewire currently alive, well, and (she assures us) definitely human in the contemporary Valiant universe? How has Silk survived to Rai’s time—and is he truly the same Silk? Repeated “photocopying” of his brain changes him, so what is happening here? There are one or two more, but they go deep into spoiler territory. It is all very intriguing, and Kindt has paid enough attention to the details so far that it seems likely everything will be revealed…eventually. Rai is one of the summer’s best books, and I am glad to see it will continue.

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Clayton Crain
Cover Artists: Clayton Crain, Donovan Santiago
Letters: Dave Lanphear

 

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