Rai is very much the beginning of Valiant’s current summer event book 4001 A.D. You would think that because of that Rai would be tie into it heavily, but thankfully it doesn’t. Because history has shown that when a title series ties into an event like that the readership tends to scratch their head and wonder why they’re getting the same story twice. A device that’s become more and more common in recent years is having the title series reveal more of the past of the event. Rather than mimic the event, the book supports it. That’s the case with Rai as the story arc has delved into the past of the different Rai’s, of which there have been many.
This particular story follows Sai, a female Rai. She’s been Rai for a hundred years and is starting to notice that she’s not as successful as when she first began. That the society has changed and that Father is part of the reason.
The story is a quick read. It’s basically a one-shot because the actual story is about Father and how he’s shaped New Japan and not the different Rai’s. That’s just the distraction because we’re intrigued by the different Rai’s. The first one was a little boy used to motivate the people. Sai was used to show the people compassion and the third one we meet is used to control them with fear. We basically see when Father decides he needs a soft or heavy hand to guide his people. Which is just like being a real parent.
Matt Kindt always writes in layers, but I have to say that his writing here is some of my favorite as of late. There’s so much thought going into this story arc and what’s even more incredible is that he’s not waving it in your face. As is the case with most of his writing, you either get it or you don’t. He gives you enough on the surface to enjoy, but if you really dive into the story you’re rewarded with more.
Not being a big fan of Clayton Crain’s, I welcome Cafu to the series. Cafu keeps the world feeling like the future, but I don’t get lost in all the details. Instead I really got to appreciate the world of world of Rai and New Japan. There isn’t a ton of action in the issue, but what moments there are look great and are interesting. That and I liked the tentacles, which seems like a tip of the hat to Japan’s manga and anime.
I haven’t actually read 4001 A.D. yet. I keep meaning to, but I haven’t. That said, I can tell you honestly that you don’t need to be reading it to understand this story arc of Rai. Instead this continues on its own and gives us an interesting back story of sorts, for Father. Though it does accomplish its mission in making me want to read 40001 A.D.
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Rai #14 Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Cafu Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/22/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital