I liked the first issue of Rai, but I didn’t fall in love with it. The story grabbed me, but the art lost me. Overall though I couldn’t wait to check out this issue and continue reading the first series to fall under the Valiant First banner. The story delivers yet again. Rai was tricked into being thrown off of New Japan in the last issue. Now he’s barely hanging on and begging for “father’s” help. He launches himself up and touches the bottom of New Japan and is sucked into the tech essentially teleporting himself. He comes out on the back of the man/creature that threw him off and begins to go to work on this “Raddie.”
Afterwards he heads back to the crime scene and is puzzled by the victim. He attempts to find the woman’s identity, but can’t locate it in the database. Around this time Lula Lee reappears and tells him about the library of congress which is a hard copy system kept by the Raddies. This puts Rai on a new path that breaks his comfort level and plants the seed doubt about Father.
Matt Kindt’s story has won me over in a big way. If you don’t become invested in the mystery that’s built upon in this issue then you need to re-read it because Kindt is crafting a story that’s bigger than just murder. There’s also an appearance from a Valiant character in this issue which was awesome. Never forget that the Valiant Universe is a shared universe so this character showing up only served to make the universe more interesting.
The last thing I’ll say about Kindt’s writing is that the narration captures the futuristic sci-fi feel of its influences. It’s important to believe that it’s happening in the future and Kindt has done that by crafting culture into the story. It’s one thing to say it’s the future; it’s another to make it the future which is what Kindt has done.
I was one of the few people not in love with Clayton Crain’s artwork and I hate to say it, but I still have a problem with it in this issue. It lacks a certain emotion that’s important when dealing with Kindt’s story. For instance Lula is head over heels for Rai. Whether that is love or admiration I don’t know, because her emotions do not emote from her character. The dialogue gives me the inkling that it’s some kind of infatuation, but I’m just not sure because of the art. Crain has a unique style and aspects of that style work very well here, but I think he needs to be directed more so that this series doesn’t just look like everything else he’s ever worked on. I really do feel as if I could put the big Raddie of this issue up next to a character from his Ghost Rider arc and you’d be confused as to which series is which.
Even with my problems with the art I’m still scoring this issue high. The reason being that the story has only gotten better since the first issue and I suspect it’ll continue to do so. In the meantime if you’re enjoying the Valiant Universe then you do not want to miss out on Rai.
Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Clayton Crain Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/4/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital