Rai returns this week and we’re finally following our main star. After being picked up by some earthlings, Rai has been taken back to their camp in order to be sniffed. No seriously, they have a dude that sniffs people to see if they’re good or bad. Rai sniffs “good” and so he’s welcomed into the camp. He asks for warriors and they let him know there’s an entire island of warriors trained by a warrior that cannot die, some might say he’s… eternal. Thank you, the first puns always free. There’s a very cool scene with Rai and a cherry blossom tree and it’s very similar to other moments in the series. The difference now is that he’s going to this tree that used to represent Father and trying to find some semblance of himself or as our sniffing dude says, “He’s trying to clean himself.” It’s a solid moment and really shows how far Rai’s character has come.
If you happened to read Book of Death: Fall of Ninjak, then like me, you were probably excited about this issue. Now that I know the deal with Spylocke… he might just become my favorite character. You’ll have to read that book to understand, but he’s put into robot kill matches as punishment from Father, but he survives.
The bulk of the issue was thankfully spent with Rai on earth. There’s another good Valiant Universe throwback in the issue that ties into Harbinger. It was interesting to see the landscape of the Valiant U on Earth. Hopefully there’s going to be more reveals as Kindt takes Rai on a tour of earth’s current landscape.
The writing is solid as always. Kindt continues to craft the future of the Valiant Universe, but what I really enjoyed was how he links Valiant’s present and future. There’s an extreme gap between them, but it really works. It reminds you of the now while still building something that genuinely feels like a futuristic story.
Clayton Crain is Clayton Crain. His digital artwork is always consistent and really his artwork has become the trademark look of the series and also the future Valiant U. The only thing I’ll say about his art is that there’s never any growth. In fact, I don’t think his style has changed much since I first saw it years and years ago on Ghost Rider. In the future I’ll probably skip talking about the art. I’ve never been a big fan of it on this series and so it’s basically just something you like or dislike and we can just leave it at that.
I like that this story has slowed down some. The first two arcs moved swiftly and never really took a break. Now we’re starting to get more development out of the characters and seeing what this world is all about. If you’ve been reading the series there’s no reason to stop now.