Rai #1 is a Book of Fast Action and Stunning Visuals (Review)
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Associate Editor: David Menchel
Editor: Lysander Hawkins
Senior Editorial Director: Robert Meyers
Earlier this year, we saw the return of Rai with Fallen World, a 5-issue mini-series from Valiant Entertainment. We learned that Father, who had run the floating world of New Japan, had not perished at Rai’s hand, but instead, was discovered by the Bloodshot of 4001 and they were combined into something more fearsome. And while Father suffered a setback with Fallen World, he is still out there and Rai is eager to end his cruelty. With Rai, from writer Dan Abnett and artist Juan Jose Ryp,
The first issue of Rai opens up with Rai and his younger, earlier counterpart. There’s trouble brewing between them and some rowdy scavenger types. The problem is that Rai has taken a vow of non-violence and the younger, not equipped for said violence, has to improvise on the fly. And in a few ways, it’s almost like reading the 4001 adventures of Batman and Robin in some respects. From there, we get down to the nature of their partnership, with Rai wanting to adapt to humanity and his older-yet-younger-more-robotic version trying to understand that exact humanity and why Rai wants it.
It’s a fantastic first issue. For one, Juan Jose Ryp always brings a highly-detailed and energetic look to his work. Just from a visual standpoint, it’s an issue worth just looking at. Andrew Dalhouse uses quite the bright, vibrant color scheme to the art, which really adds a level of appeal to it. The art alone is worth the price of admission.
Dan Abnett’s story helps readers get caught up on what has happened prior. The worldbuilding is fairly profound and there’s a feeling that there’s so much potential for Rai now that he’s on Earth and Abnett’s prior work adds to him being the best writer for this. Fallen World showed he had a good understanding of Valiant’s 4001 timeline. Action beats seem to take place at the right moments within the issue. And one thing that’s crucial here is that the dialogue between our two protagonists feel like unique voices; I feel that’s reflected upon the page.
Ultimately, the veteran Valiant fan isn’t going to miss picking up Rai and someone not familiar with this title might pass. I do feel a new reader could pick up this issue and get caught up within its pages.
One of the biggest things for me with Rai is that it didn’t take long after Fallen World wrapped up to see the story continue and the fact that Valiant didn’t wait until the past events were forgotten is a big thing. Rai blends fast action, fresh dialogue and stunning visuals into a great first issue. While Rai’s main villain continues to be Father, I feel there’s a lot of potential with where the story is going to keep me happy as a reader.