Rai #14 Review
Writer: Matt Kindt
Cover: David Mack; Andres Guinaldo with Allen Passalaqua; Ryan Lee with Allen Passalaqua
“To save the body, a limb must be sometimes removed.” Those are the bone chilling words that should not be taken lightly for this new Rai. New Japan is a shining city in the mid-36th century. The people, as well as the technology has evolved. An artificial intelligence known as Father is in control of New Japan, and that may not be a good thing. I’m sure he “loves” his children, but he has no problem sacrificing them if necessary. Sacrifice is where we meet our new Rai. A young woman full of compassion, stopping a mass suicide. Her 100 years of heroism has not gone unnoticed. The people love her and she is willing to show kindness where it is needed. Unfortunately, Father feels differently.
In this issue we get a heartbreaking story of a cheerful Rai giving her all to the world. She is their champion, their helper, their symbol. Now she must be dealt with. An uprising of the P.T. (artificial life, I’m assuming) has attracted the attention of some locals, and a massacre commences. Not from the P.T.s. Not from the locals, but from a wild-eyed new warrior who has come to replace this beloved Rai. Of course, she was not going to be Rai forever, but has this hooded stranger come to kill her or to hurt her? I really hope it’s the former. I don’t think I can handle such a precious character being “removed”. That would hurt me too much. Don’t do this to me, Matt Kindt.
There is so much to love with this book. One is the two contrasting sides of our current Rai and her replacement. I feel like there is something about this relationship that would be toxic but could be essential to New Japan. Maybe it represents something like New Japan or am I just thinking too much into it. Rai #14 really has me going between sadness and confusion. I’m sad for our Rai and her time ended. I am confused on how she can stop an artificial intelligence that could destroy New Japan if he chose to. That’s a lot take on for just one Rai. Can she do it? Can she survive for a little while longer to see humanity be saved from grave consequences? The plot thickens and it’s just gonna keep getting more and more interesting from here on out.
Matt Kindt writes a beautiful story. When I say beautiful story, I actually mean a story so sad and brutal that you want to hold yourself, lie down and try not to cry…then cry tears of heartache. Maybe that’s just me. All jokes aside, this is a really well written book. I love seeing the history of the Rai (Rais?) and how each were all different and had their own personality. Honestly, I don’t want to see any other Rai but this one. If my wish comes there would be a Rai team up. Can’t you imagine a good and precious Rai and a brutal and kick butt sidekick/partner? Doesn’t that sound great? Whatever Matt Kindt will choose will no doubt be written so well. Sure, my emotions are gonna be torn up, but it will still be worthwhile to read.
Cafu delivers in the art department. I’m not sure what it is, but Cafu’s art looks like it has a soft feel. There are not a lot of hard blacks and hard tones. I love this look. Not everything is defined is dark lines, and those that are have thin lines. The very shadows and midtones aren’t heavy and help shape the face or the bodies in a realistic way. Cafu’s art would have been just as dynamic and entertaining without Andrew Dalhouse’s colors. Speaking of, Dalhouse gives use those “soft” but well executed colors. I think my only problem with Cafu is that no one looks Japanese. Perhaps this is for a reason explained in previous Rai books, but I expected more Asian looking characters. It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I think it matters.
Good writing and art like this make me wish I had got into Valiant sooner. I am about to go back and read the other Rai books. While I have some catching up to do, I want you all to read to jump in to Rai. I sure will be staying on this book.