I'm a fan of Valiant Comics, but I'll admit the one series I've never gotten into is Rai. I'm not sure exactly why. I just never quite got it. With the new 4001 A.D. event going on, I got a chance to read the return of Rai today and I was pleasantly surprised.
Rai #13 gives you the feeling that you are at the beginning of a great science fiction epic. It opens establishing the world of New Japan as it floats over the Earth. We see the troubles of the floating city and how those that live there are suffering. Writer Matt Kindt takes us into the heart of the city and then seamlessly transitions us into the origin of the first Rai. We learn exactly why Father made him and we see how humanity tore down the hope that the first Rai brought.
Now this story is told from Father's point-of-view and I'm sure a version from the human side would be very different. But here we feel sympathetic for the first Rai and see humanity in the worst possible light. We see how Father wanted to help society, yet it was taken as a desire for control. It is a self-contained story in that it tells of the birth, life and death of the first Rai, but it's also an on-going as we see the beginning of the second Rai.
The art for this issue is really well done by Cafu. There is a real nice mix between the sci-fi elements and feudal Japan. Like something Ridley Scott would've dreamed up. The art is clear and concise, tells the story well and still brings that sense of design collision that works best in a futuristic story.
Kindt and Cafu have created an opening scene that would work just as well on the big screen as it does on the printed page.
RAI #13 (NEW ARC! "4001 A.D.")
Written by Matt Kindt Art by Cafu Covers by David Mack, Andres Guinaldo, Clayton Henry, Cafu and Ryan Lee
As 4001 A.D. teeters on the brink, discover the intertwined origins of New Japan's very first Rai and his creator, Father – the despotic artificial intelligence that would one day threaten us all. And as the truth behind these long-lost beginnings resurfaces, so too will the questions that have eluded mankind for nearly two millennia. How did New Japan come to orbit Earth? Who created Father? And what happened to the nine previous Rai that once swore allegiance to his empire?
The architect behind the summer's most anticipated crossover event, Matt Kindt (DIVINITY II), joins forces with all-star artist CAFU (IMPERIUM) to uncover the never-before-told story of New Japan's rise to power…and reveals just how the Valiant Universe of today became the 4001 A.D. of tomorrow!