Review: Rai #7
A mysterious supernatural storm has trapped Rai and Raijin with their enemies… who will live to see daylight in Rai #7?
There’s no question in my mind anymore that Rai is one of the absolute best series from any publisher currently being published. It is unquestionably Valiant’s best. The first volume of the series has been collected in trade, and you can find my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth issues at those links. Initially, the series took me by surprise after how much I loved the precursor, Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series has the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face with an over reliance on the devices in our hands, pockets and on our wrists. One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspective, and I know there’s too much technology in my life already.
The core concept of the series has been remarkably simple in that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin (it’s not actually as confusing as it sounds, but to fully understand it you may want to circle back through the first volume of Rai written by Matt Kindt), are searching for Offspirng. Pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring, giving the series it’s overarching plot line while allowing Dan Abnett to have each issue effectively tell either a whole story or the first (or second) half of one. It’s in these single issues that Abnett explores the various subtexts that lend themselves so well to science fiction.
Rai #7 is yet another brilliant entry into the series. At this point I’ve stopped waiting for the rug to come out from under me and am so excited to see each issue hit my inbox, and I have yet to be disappointed. Abnett’s story in this issue is a slower paced one, with Rai’s humanity (or lack thereof) being explored as Raijin points out and helps Rai understand the damage his quest is having on the very people he is trying to save.
Juan Jose Ryp‘s artwork… oh man. Ryps’ art is once again coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless. I’ve been a huge fan of both Ryp and Dalhouse ever since I first saw their work in a Valiant book, and I have never been disappointed by either man’s work; Rai #7 is no exception. Ryps’s hyper detailed style is on full display here, and the way the facial expressions are used elevates the words in the way only great art can, with Dalhouse working his magic with colours that will take you from the starkness of Rai’s emotional position to the warmth of the environment. It’s a fantastic looking book, but again, I’d expect nothing less.
Rai #7 is, if you haven’t guessed, a really good comic. It may not be the key issue everybody will be hunting in one, three or seven years, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a book that demands attention. If you buy comics for good stories, then this is a series you need to be reading.
Story: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review