- Writer: Matt Kindt
- Artist: CAFU
- Cover: David Mack
- Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
- Released Date: 7/20/2016
It is here, our third trip back in time…but still in the future. The tails of Rai’s past continue in Valiant’s summer event 4001 tie in issues 13-16 of Rai. Already in the past two issues we have seen many of the future New Japan’s past protectors, do we now get to witness a battle between two of the most current Rai’s, Sai, and the brutal Aboto?
Rai #15 Synopsis
I was really excited to see that this issue picks up right where the last one left off. This caught me off guard because I expected this issue, like the previous, to do another jump in time. It was nice to have a continuous story. This speaks to the writing of Matt Kindt, in my opinion, one of the major architects of the modern Valiant universe. His work on other titles Ninjak and the critically acclaimed Divinity show how well Matt can build and develop two drastically different characters. His work on Rai is my favorite though, because it shows how well Matt can build a world. Rai, and now the 4001 line up to be, demonstrate boundless building possibilities for the Valiant universe. In issue 15 Matt again, like he has many times, throws us a twist beginning I had not expected. All we can do is anticipate the questions that will be answered and the new ones that will develop.
Within the first six pages we get a good background story on a new character, Aboto, and come to learn his true position in the Rai ranking and it is most unexpected. From the last issue we could have assumed that Aboto was the newest Rai. It also seemed last issue was the last time we would see him, much less learn his name and see character development. I really like this because I really like Aboto’s whole look and feel of ninja robot, laser whips. His backstory of a tortured birth from father fits his look well.
This issue is super Aboto heavy, it’s a good thing if like me you’re into comics with total bad ass, take no prisoners attitude characters. Aboto becomes an outcast from New Japan and sent to Earth for being to brutal. On Earth is where Aboto shoots to the top of my favorite Rai so far list, because we learn his one true purpose in life, to destroy. It is nice to have characters that you don’t have to try too hard to understand their motives. His rage is something you as a reader need only enjoy as Aboto seems unstoppable. Future, robot, ninja, laser whips.
There is a nice little cameo by some more of the Earth produced XO anti farther armor from the 21st century. What country it belongs to is anyone’s guess.
After Aboto’s time on Earth we get a nice round about as to what lead to him and Sai being face to face now. We learn Fathers true mission for Aboto, but we also see a tender exchange between Sai and Aboto. A moment that reflects not only on earlier panels in this issue, but again reminds us that Father integrated actual humans into the Rai’s. More questions are proposed by this emotional moment then answers, we see that the two run away together. But no Rai can every truly escape father.
The issue ends with a showdown not between Sia and Aboto, but rather between Aboto and Father with Sai being cast to Earth. A lot of the closing panels suggest questions who the woman and the boy on Earth in Rai issue #11 are may finally be answered. I know with Kindt a lot can happen in 20+ pages, but it’s nice to think that those seeds the writer planted so many issues back may finally come to fruition. Aboto seems to have also survived his showdown with Father so I hope we see more of him as this arc continues throughout the summer.
The Creative Team
The art matches the story tone perfectly and CAFU again delivers a magnificent issue for the eyes. The way he can tell a story with pictures. At one point in Aboto’s Earth adventure CAFU does a wonderful job at showing the passage of time not only with traditional weather and seasons, but with the subtle decaying dead around our character. My favorite is a shot of Aboto smashing through a wall and taking on a wave of armed men and women, his whips glowing while trailing him makes for a unique character look, very original. In this issue we also see multiple depictions of my favorite form Father comes in and that is the black pool of goo. I think CAFU dose a great job drawing all the tactical feeling black appendages that sprout from this dark pool of…goo.
I loved this issue and it only makes it harder to wait for issue #16. My thought is we see a battle between Aboto and our current Rai. Aboto may be one my new favorite characters but I do not know how much more we will see of him.
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