Review: Rai #8
Sci-fi masterminds Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp pull you further into their futuristic landscape in Rai #8! Rai and Raijin’s quest leads them to a Positronic utopia! Except peace is never as peaceful as it looks. Will the pair preserve or perish?
In some ways, reviewing this series is both a blessing and a bit of a headache. The creative team are so damn consistent, that I’m almost running out of new things to say about a series. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the consistency of Rai is an incredible strength to the series and I look forward to reading it more than any other book each month – it was the book I was most excited for when comics began shipping again.
The following two paragraphs are taken from my review of the previous issue, not because I’m lazy, but because rather than rewrite the same thing in a different way, I’m being economical with our time. If you read the review of the last issue then you can skip them – if not, then you should really check it out.
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 – given 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.
Back with me?
Perfect. Rai #8 ratchets up the tension as Rai, Raijin and their human companion Alice encounter a city of positronics in their search for Offspring, pieces of AI code they must destroy to prevent the evil Father from being able to exert his influence over the lands. We’re also given a look at how some outsiders are welcome in any society, but others are shunned and ignore – often for things far out of their own control. It’s not uncomfortable, nor is it overly obvious, but it’s the subtleties of Juan Jose Ryp’s artwork that really sells the scene.
Speaking of the art, Jose Ryp’s artwork is once again brilliant. His detailed yet gentle style has always been among my favourite art styles for action books, and the lack of heavy inking only serves to emphasize the beauty of the art. Man, Ryp’s art is every bit as good as the story, and elevates the comic to an entirely new level. 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; this book, muxh like every other in the series, is no exception.
Is Rai #8 a perfect comic? No, but it’s damn close. I don’t know that I could find any fault in the story, art, or presentation if I tried – and I tried (I try to make sure I’m not being too blinded by a comic, after all). Again, this is the one book I am most excited for each month, and each month I’ve never been let down. Truly one of the very best books on the racks.
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