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Review: Rai #1

RAI #1

Welcome to the 41st century: New worlds, new characters, new adventures await kicking off in Rai #1.
Valiant’s critically celebrated cyborg ronin named Rai embarks on a thrilling quest to save the future.

Every so often, a comic comes along that blows your expectations away. Rai #1 is one of those comics.

This series picks up after the events of Fallen World. It was a mini-series the cynical would suggest only exists in order to launch this series. I enjoyed Fallen World, although I felt it dropped a bit in quality after the first two issues. Though it wasn’t much, there was definitely a downward slope after the third issue. Writer Dan Abnett reversed the slope for the fifth issue to end on a highlight. Whether he knew he was setting up Rai #1 with Fallen World #5 or not, he was able to end the series on a high note. It provided an ending that satisfied the miniseries whilst ramping up anticipation for Rai #1.

Abnett builds upon Fallen World, and indeed 4001 A.D. He delivers what amounts to a buddy-cop comic with two brothers looking to stop their father from enslaving the world. There’s a bit more to it than that. The older brother is the child, and in order to stop their father, Rai and Raijin have to stop him from rebooting his AI system by gathering more pieces of himself scattered across the post apocalyptic Earth of 4002 AD.

The relationship between the two Rai warms the page; the smaller Raijin is a fully synthetic being, unable to grow or age beyond his current stature but is the first model of Rai whereas the adult looking Rai, the Rai of the title, is the newest model – and half human – which leads to some clever dialogue between the two characters, and gives Abnett plenty of room to explore what it means to be human and how we think of AI and robots in science fiction.

Joining Abnett is the ever astounding artist Juan Jose Ryp and colourist Andrew Dalhouse. The pair have delivered one of the best looking comics you’re going to read this week – or even this year. Ryp’s hyper detailed style is superbly suited for a post apocalyptic world where things have been pulled together out of scraps from the previous two millennium, the mechanical advancement and subsequent regression between our time and 4002 is captured brilliantly on the page without it ever needing to be explicitly discussed. And then we have then way that he frames his shots, generally sticking to a horizontal grid until he needs to highlight a character’s actions or choices, which will result in a breaking of the grid as the character soars or needs to take center stage.

Ryp’s grasp of visual storytelling is on point here, and with Rai #1he underlines his name as one of the finest artists in comics today.

Dalhouse is superb in bringing the artwork to life. The vibrant colours and subtle use of clouds in the blue sky early in the comic is beautiful in its simplicity. Post apocalyptic tales often have the reputation of being set in a boring barren brown wasteland, and while that’s still the case here (at least as far as the first issue goes), there’s nothing boring about the way Dalhouse has coloured this book. He adds a vibrant soul to the comic that would be noticed if it was missing – even if you couldn’t put a finger on what you would be missing.

You can read the first eight pages below if you want a taste of the book. They’re perhaps the best opening to a comic I’ve read in a long time.

Perhaps the only “flaw” in the book is that it builds upon around twenty five issues across three series. Yes, having read those will help you (even just the two mentioned previously; 4001 A.D. and Fallen World, though the first volume of Rai is also very good), but if you’re coming in to this volume of Rai unfamiliar with the characters then you won’t be lost. At all. This issue establishes who the two lead characters are, their motivations and their capabilities in an organic way. The review copy I read didn’t have a recap page, but the comic doesn’t need it.

Rai #1 is one of the best comics I’ve read all year. This is a comic that has (almost) everything you could want in a comic. I say almost because there’s always something you can nitpick with any issue, though I have yet to find anything to moan about with Rai #1. I cannot recommend this book enough.

This is going to be something special.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.7 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Listen to Rai’s Theme Song, Lyrics by Dan Abnett!

The brand-new RAI series makes its action-packed debut next Wednesday (November 20th), and metal band A Sound of Thunder is celebrating the can’t-miss comic with the song ‘Break Free!’

Featuring lyrics by series writer Dan Abnett, “Break Free” is offered exclusively through the band’s Kickstarter as a companion to their new album Parallel Eternity. The catchy single also comes with an exclusive RAI #1 variant cover by Paul Pelletier, which is an homage to Derek Riggs’ cover for Iron Maiden’s album Somewhere in Time. The limited edition variant is available with the modern trade dress (500 copies) and classic trade dress (200 copies).

Dan Abnett is a veteran of the comic industry, but this was his first time writing lyrics for a song!

Listen to a sample of ‘Break Free’

Preview: RAI #1

RAI #1

Written by DAN ABNETT
Preorder Edition Cover by JOSÉ LADRÖNN
Blank Cover Also Available
On sale NOVEMBER 20 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Welcome to the 41st century: New worlds, new characters, new adventures.
Valiant’s critically celebrated cyborg ronin named Rai embarks on a thrilling quest to save the future.

Multiple New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) joins forces with breathtaking artist Juan José Ryp (X-O MANOWAR) to begin the essential sci-fi series of the next two thousand years!

RAI #1

Preview: Justice League Odyssey #15

Justice League Odyssey #15

(W) Dan Abnett (A) Will Conrad (CA) Neil Googe
In Shops: Nov 13, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The Black Cube wakes! The new JLO team battles a massively powerful threat aboard their ship…and the ship is the first casualty. Stranded in space, Jessica Cruz’s leadership skills are tested to the limit as she tries to bring her dysfunctional crew together as a team before they all perish!

Justice League Odyssey #15

Preview: Fallen World TPB


Written by DAN ABNETT
On sale NOVEMBER 13 | 128 pages | $14.99 US | T+
TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-332-1

In the year 4002 AD, the cyborg samurai called Rai will face an impossible battle for the fate of humanity.

In the wake of his rebellion against the tyrannical A.I. that created him, Rai has renounced the way of the sword and works to build a new life for the refugees of the fallen nation of New Japan on the surface of the shattered Earth they once dwelled so far above.

But Rai will find his commitment to walking the path of peace tested like never before as new enemies arise from out of the wastelands and agents of the old order threaten his people from within…

Collecting the complete FALLEN WORLD five-issue miniseries.


Preview: Justice League Odyssey #14

Justice League Odyssey #14

(W) Dan Abnett (A/CA) Will Conrad
In Shops: Oct 09, 2019
SRP: $3.99

An unknown warrior assembles Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and various heroes to form a new JLO as guardians of the Ghost Sector. Vastly outnumbered against Darkseid’s savage para-angel strikeforce, they’re going to have to fight their way through Darkseid’s new multi-planet realm of Apokolips to take control of Sepulkore or die trying. What choice do they have? The entire universe is depending on them…

Justice League Odyssey #14

Dan Abnett Heads to Barsoom for Dejah Thoris

Dejah Thoris is back in a brand new ongoing series by sci-fi superstar Dan Abnett, launching this December!

Writer Dan Abnett and his fellow creators are heading to Barsoom to chronicle the latest tales of Dejah. His co-pilot for this mission is artist Vasco Georgiev. The crew is rounded out by colorist Dearbhla Kelly and letterer Simon Bowland. Barsoom has always been a dying world, teetering on disaster, but it may be closer to death these days. Dejah Thoris has been many things in life; a wife, a mother, royalty and an adventurer. Now her role as a scientist must take center stage, as she attempts to investigate why her homeworld is freezing. Other skills come into play when it’s discovered that political factions may be hiding the secrets of this global catastrophe. Glittering palace intrigue and visceral adventure abound in this new series, as Dejah joins her fellow Women of Dynamite “trinity” of Vampirella and Red Sonja.

Besides her kickass abilities, acute intelligence, leadership abilities and charm, Dejah Thoris is of course renowned for her beauty. Dynamite has assembled a team of four cover artists for this first issue that are upheld by fans as masters of beautiful heroines. Painter Lucio Parrillo is a natural choice, with his decade-long attachment to the franchise, having drawn countless covers for Dynamite’s first foray into Barsoom. On the other hand, Joseph Michael Linsner has tragically only drawn one Dejah cover before, so Dynamite is correcting this egregious wrong. Even worse than that, Billy Tucci has plenty of experience drawing powerful women, but has never drawn the Princess of Mars. Completing the set is a breathtaking wraparound cover by the one and only Adam Hughes! Dynamite will also be offering an extremely limited black-bagged risqué version for those who want to appreciate Dejah’s full beauty in a manner more in line with Burroughs’s original vision. Cosplayer Mai (@maidenhellxo) returns to Dejah with another cover and the first cosplay cover on a solo Dejah Thoris series!

Preview: Justice League Odyssey #13

Justice League Odyssey #13

(W) Dan Abnett (A/CA) Will Conrad
In Shops: Sep 11, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Sepulkore is activated! The entire Ghost Sector has been imprisoned and enslaved as a new realm of Apokolips, with Darkseid as its supreme ruler! Returned to power, with reborn New Gods at his side and the Ghost Sector as an implacable fortress, Darkseid sets his sights on the remaining universe! Can anyone stand in his way? Where are Justice League Odyssey? And what are the shocking identities of the heralds who now do Darkseid’s malevolent bidding?

Justice League Odyssey #13

Review: Fallen World #5

Fallen World, #5

In Fallen World, #5, it’s all-out war between Rai and Bloodfather!

Can Bloodshot be saved from his ultimate fate?

What does the future of 4002 hold for these characters? The first answers to what comes next starts here!

Fallen World #5, written by Dan Abnett, featuring art by Adam Polina, colors by Ulises Arreola and letters by Jeff Powell is the final issue in the series that follows the events of the final issues of Rai and the 4001 A.D. miniseries. It also serves as the introduction to the new Rai series coming later this year from Abnett and Juan Jose Ryp (more on this later). .

Fallen World started off strongly, with the first three issues playing into the best the science fiction stories have to offer; racism, religion and foreign politics. But that didn’t carry into the fourth issue which felt less like great science fiction and more like a stumble in the road to greatness. It was a comic that, without the subtext and allegorical aspects, was left to stand on its artistic merits. Sadly there was enough that pulled me out of the story in terms of the art that I missed the subtleties of the previous issues.

Thankfully, the fourth issue remains the weakest in the series.

Regarding those allegories…

My love for this series is, in part, due to the analogs to our current world. There are clear problems between humans and their former slaves, the artificially intelligent positrons. This leads to some powerfully haunting moments in the first issue. The second issue introduced us to a religious sect that worship Father – or rather their idea of Father, crafted to suit their needs. It’s a series of undertones that add what all great science fiction has. That’s a powerful modern relevance despite the book being set two thousand years in the future. The third issue has added an interesting commentary on a foreign body trying to impose its will on the existent population. It’s a population that is less than thrilled with the proposition being offered by the foreign body.

From my review of Fallen World #3

Although there is a lot of combat in this comic, the overall theme is one of struggle in the face of inevitability. Now it’s possible I’m reading too much into the comic, but then what is art if you can’t interpret it in ways beyond the obvious?

With this being the finale to Fallen World the divergent plot lines all come together to some degree, though the focus is primarily on Rai and his confrontation with Father/Bloodfather, and it’s through this confrontation that Abnett discusses the inevitability of things. Surrounded by artwork that propels the story along in clean concise lines and panels inset over full page images gives the comic an epic feel and a sense of urgency that underlies the rush of the story itself.

Although the series didn’t end as strongly as it started, the was a significant upswing in terms of quality from the previous issue. Overall, as a reintroduction to Rai and the cast of the 4001 Fallen World was an unreserved success. As a standalone story? Well, as I said, it’s a great introduction to kick off the next chapter of Valiant’s future timeline.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Adam Pollina
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Jeff Powell
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Fallen World #5 (of 5)

FALLEN WORLD #5 (of 5)

Written by DAN ABNETT
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Pre-Order Editionby DAVID MACK
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 4th

It’s all-out war between Rai and Bloodfather!

Can Bloodshot be saved from his ultimate fate?

What does the future of 4002 hold for these characters? The first answers to what comes next starts here!

FALLEN WORLD #5 (of 5)
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