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Review – Rai #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
  • Writing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Art - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
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Rai #1

Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: November 20, 2019

Rai, a Cyborg Samurai, continues to fight his way through the future to stop his father and other creations.

 

A Journey of a Thousand Steps Starts in Rai #1

Rai #1 finds us journeying with the aptly-named Rai, a Cyborg Samurai who has become sentient and almost too human. He journeys with a younger model of himself, Raijin. Together they traverse the 41st century to stop their father and ones like themselves. The future is a dangerous place, even for a Cyborg Samurai. What will the journey hold for Rai, and what will he find out about himself?

Writing

Rai #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover A by Juan Jose Ryp
Rai #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover A by Juan Jose Ryp

Dan Abnett brings us on the beginning of a journey in Rai #1. Abnett does a good job of setting the stage in this first issue and making this feel like the start of an epic adventure. The start of the issue sets a nice tone for the series. It is a little playful and fun, while still being serious at the same time.

Much like in my review of Roku #1, this is my first exposure to the character Rai. Being a first issue, it seemed like a good jumping-on point. I wouldn’t say Rai #1 is a terrible way to start with the character, but it is not the best, either. I wish Abnett had given a little more to hold onto with him and the story as a whole. There is a little mystery and intrigue, but it is not built up enough. There is also a huge info-dump in the middle of this issue; that was just kind of a little boring.

I did enjoy Abnett’s dialogue between Rai and Raijin. It was some nice playful banter between the two that really softened up the tone of the series as a whole. Abnett did a fantastic job of playing the two off of each other and getting some good sequences between them.

Art

Rai #1 brings the detailed styling of Juan Jose Ryp to the forefront. He has some elaborate character work throughout the issue. He adds a crazy amount of little details to the characters and surroundings. It is a bit of like a Where’s Waldo type vibe. Not in art styling, but in that he has these big pages and panels with tons of characters and creatures on them. It is fun just to look at, and see what he has put in there. You can sit there and just be mesmerized by his detailed work.

For all the detail Ryp puts into his work, I do wish he had a little more “movement” or energy on the pages. The images, while a lot of fun to look at, feel a little stagnant. It might help, also, if he played a little more with his panel structure or layouts and perspective. It just seems to take away from his art.

I am kind of off and on with the coloring by Andrew Dalhouse in Rai #1. In one way the bright colorations are a bit distracting at times and kind of clash with what is happening. On the other hand, the brighter look of the issue brings a little more “levity” to the story and makes it a bit more of a fun visual read.

Conclusion

Again, much like Roku #1, I was hoping to jump into the Valiant Universe with Rai #1. While not the worst place to start, it isn’t the best, either. I was a bit confused about different things throughout it. It seems like Abnett has started an interesting journey with these characters; I just needed a little something more to get me invested.

The art is wonderfully detailed and I did enjoy looking at some splendid pages. Again, I was missing a little energy in the visuals, and feel, while not spoiling anything, a few big scenes were wasted by “showing” how powerful Rai is.

I will probably stick on Rai for a few more issues as, overall, it has a very interesting visual look and Abnett is a seasoned comic writer; I trust he may bring this to some different places in the future.


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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