Rai vol 1: Welcome to New Japan
Collection: Rai issues #1-4
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Writer: Matt Kindt
Interior Artist / Collection Cover Artist: Clayton Crain
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Both the cover and the interior artwork by Clayton Crain look awesome. Great angles, nice, tight lines and great coloring and inking techniques on Crain’s part really made the city of New Japan and its citizens come alive. This great feel made the artwork really fun to look at. But, that said, I had a hard time following the action sequences. They seemed choppy. Where many artists would show the process of flipping over obstacles and fighting, Crain would just show Rai at the end of the sequence and leave you to guess how it went down. I personally was let down by this. Part of the reason I picked up the book was because Rai is supposed to be a great fighter and I wanted some good martial arts action. Others may not feel as I did. Like I said before, the pencils, inks and colors were done spectacularly. A really good job. I just prefer a more detailed action sequence.
The story by Matt Kindt was amazing! But what do you expect from the guy who brought us such Valiant classics as Unity, Divinity, Ninjak, Book of Death, X-O Manowar, etc. Great, and I mean great, fantastic characters and character development. Rai’s inner dialogue answers the question asked by all stories: who am I? I found Kindt’s answers to be entertaining, informative and plot developing. You really can’t ask for more than that in writing. The story itself is like a Judge Dredd / Mega-City in the future kind of feel, but mixed with the plight of a faithful monk. It was awesome. A really fun story. But the story needs a pilot. Someone to guide us through the panels and pages, aka the letterer – who in this case is the great Dave Lanphear. Lanphear guides us through the panels beautifully, allowing for the reader to really soak in the look and feel of New Japan while easily following along with the story.
This story takes place in the year 4001 AD. In a city high up in the sky, miles above Earth in geosynchronous orbit, a city called New Japan. The whole city is run by an AI that goes by the name, Father. Father must protect and provide for billions of people. Father’s right hand of law is the virtual urban myth that is Rai (Japanese for Spirit). Recently, the first murder in a thousand years occurred, and Rai was dispatched to investigate. What he finds may just change New Japan and its hero forever. Welcome to New Japan.
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Written By: Michael Nunneley