Published by Valiant Entertainment, April 2014
Story: Matt Kindt
Art: Clayton Crain
Colors: Clayton Crain
Letterer: Alejanfro Arbona
Covers By: Clayton Crain, Bryan Hitch, Stephen Segovia, Raul Allen, Khari Evans, Trevor Hairsine, David Aja & Raul Allen
Synopsis: Valiant was founded back in 1989 by a couple Marvel guys and did well in the 90’s even though it was bought out by Acclaim Entertainment. However it was later shut down in 2004 and Valiant sat until it was resurrected in 2012. It’s been on fire ever since releasing many of the original titles. Rai is another title that I’ve found quite fascinating and plan on following. Unfortunately I missed the heydays of Valiant so I’m not familiar with the first rendition of Rai.
We begin our story in the year is 4001 A.D. where Japan has expanded upwards into the stratosphere. It appears that this nation is run my an artificial intelligence named “Father” and Rai is the sole protector of Japan. Rai is a one-man ghost like fighting force and the people of Japan need him now more than ever since the unthinkable has happened in our utopia, the first murder in 1000 years.
This murder was done by Raddies and not much is known of them except they are more prone to carrying out terra-attacks or killing PTs (Positronic Mindsartifical intelligence). Seems like everyone in Japan gets a PT by age fifteen and mimic everything that is human, thus hard to tell the difference. So a blue circle is placed on the forehead of each PT for identification purposes. We learn a lot about the Japan’s history, the Raddies, PTs, and Rai from a young girl named Lulu. Lulu is important to your story since she was the one that witnessed the murder. She later meets up with Rai pointing him in the direction where the Raddies went. We learn Father has trained Rai, trained him for every possible situation that may lay ahead of Rai, except for one.
As a side note, there was something that caught my attention and that was a line that Rai was thinking to himself while confronting Spylocke. He thought to himself “Father’s reasons are often obtuse, but over the year that I have been working for him i have trusted his infallibility.” Does that mean Rai is replaced on a scheduled basis? I guess I can’t read too much into it but made me wonder, what did Rai do during the 1000 years of no murder?
Panel/Layout: The layout is fantasic simply because of the artwork, so damn amazing! I mean the detail on some of these pages was awe-inspiring. Examples were the detail from the antique gun of the mysterious man in the bar that blew himself up to the many scenes containing puddles or rain as the backdrop. I mean it was pure eye candy, visually stunning in every way.
Verdict: Clayton Crain’s art fantastically interweaves the story together with each line drawn. Matt Kindt’s has introduced us to the Japan of the 41st century and has personally hooked and reeled me in. I know Valiant, like Image Comics, has been hitting them out of the park as of late and this is by far no exception.