Rating: 5/5 – Spectacular Art & Story Kick Off a “Must Read” Series.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
The much anticipated relaunch of Rai hit stands today with a bang. Valiant has been putting a lot of effort into promoting this book with previews, video trailers, pullbox preview comics handed out at comic shops, and early release editions that were on sales at C2E2 last week. Many times a book that is hyped this much sets a really high expectation and then utterly fails to live up to what has been created in the minds of fans who have been hearing about it for months. That is not the case with Rai #1, Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain live up to every bit of the hype with a carefully crafted and masterfully illustrated vision of a future Japan that has freed itself from the bonds of Earth and exists as a massive “mega city” space station.
The art by Clayton Crain is spectacular. I know taste in art is very subjective, so that’s my personal opinion, form your own by checking out the preview. Every page of the main story looks just as beautiful as the preview pages, if you like what you see at the link, you’re going to love this comic. It does not stop with the art, Matt Kindt has created an entire mythos to go with our future Japan that is revealed over the course of this issue as a “matter of fact” part of the story. Kindt weaves an amazing amount of detail seamlessly into the telling of the story, while moving the story forward and introducing a number of fascinating characters.
I started reading this issue and was swept away in the storytelling. Before I knew it I was at the end and craving more. Fortunately, there is a “Plus Edition” available for an extra $1 that includes even more! There is a stunning 2-page map of Japan 4001 A.D. by Matt Kindt, a quick Spylocke story, text pages, and a 5-page story of the cartoon character Lula Lee who one of the leads in the main story is named for. None of this is essential for understanding or enjoying the main story, that can be read without any of these extras just fine, but for readers who want to explore more of the mythos behind Japan 4001 A.D. this is wonderful stuff to have access to.
Rai #1 introduces us to the defender of Japan in 4001 A.D. and an entire new world that the story is set in with an equally fascinating cast of characters and politics. Woven around a murder mystery, Kindt & Crain immediately drew me into the world they have created and I was carried along from page 1 until the end of the issue not really noticing the external passage of time. For me, this was escapist entertainment at it’s finest. It stands on it’s own and does not require any additional investment in other comic series. You can pick this single issue up off the rack and you’re ready to go, no history with the characters or publisher is required. For me this was a perfect #1 issue. Everything I needed to enjoy the issue is IN the issue and it left me craving issue #2. If you want to try something new give Rai #1 a shot. If every issue is as good as this one, Rai is going to be a permanent resident at the top of my “to read” pile every time a new issue hits the stands.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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