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Review: Rai #3

Rai #3

The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace in Rai #3! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved 80% of the five issues of Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have.

The series overarching plot has Rai and Raijin search for more pieces of Father. Father’s the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. You can read about in the 4001 A.D. miniseries. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely. It’s a situation that holds a level of menace in the background. It’s just out of sight for the most part, but always within reach, as you read.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a mere backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines, and what it means to be human. The second issue saw Rai and Raijin continue their hunt for an Offspring. That took them through a sector of New Japan that fell to Earth. It bore a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. It was here the duo came across an idyllic looking model home that felt like an incredibly advanced Alexa or Google Home.

The first two issues have been stellar comics. It’s also worth praising each issue for the different angle that they take. The series has touched upon how reliant we’re becoming on technology and whether we’re losing sight of who we are without it.

Rai #3, somehow, lived up to my expectations.

We find Rai effectively comatose with no explanation. Raijin’s trying to make sense of why his companion is nonresponsive to any stimuli. Without wanting to get into spoiler territory, it’s difficult to explain why this comic met my expectations. Doing so in any great detail will probably reveal far more than I’d like to regarding the story. Suffice to say that the comic made me think about personal security in the digital age. This may also be in part because of my day job and the training I’ve been doing at work. As seems to be the case, I’ll probably touch more on this in the review for the next issue.

Dan Abnett has woven a compelling story. It features some real-world commentary that has never been more relevant nor timeless when it comes to the use of technology. But my love of the between-the-lines story isn’t at the expense of the comic itself; Abnett has delivered an incredible story in every way.

Rai #3 is rounded out by one of the finest artists in comics in Juan Jose Ryp along with the versatility of colorist Andrew Dalhouse. The futuristic visual style in the comic must be somewhere between a dream and a nightmare for an artist; depending on the comic, Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house. To say that I have yet to be tired or bored by the art would be an understatement because I can’t remember a time when I have been as excited as I have been to scroll down in the review copy just to see the art. And then when reading it again in print to see the art without a watermark.

Usually when you get writing or artwork of this caliber then the other tends to be a little overshadowed, but that’s not the case here. The comic is as visually exciting as the story is deep.

As a series, Rai has transcended any expectation I had for it; this is a gem of science fiction storytelling and a damn fine comic. Please, don’t miss this series.

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

Preview: Justice League Odyssey #17

Justice League Odyssey #17

(W) Dan Abnett (A) Will Conrad (CA) Jose Ladrönn
In Shops: Jan 15, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and the new JLO have their first encounter with their lost friend Cyborg. Will Victor Stone’s hidden messages be the clue to releasing him from Darkseid’s deadly grip-or is Vic gone forever? And how much is Jessica willing to risk to save her old friends?

Justice League Odyssey #17

Advance Review: Rai #3

Rai #3

The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace in Rai #3! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved 80% of the five issues of Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have.

The series overarching plot has Rai and Raijin search for more pieces of Father. Father’s the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. You can read about in the 4001 A.D. miniseries. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely. It’s a situation that holds a level of menace in the background. It’s just out of sight for the most part, but always within reach, as you read.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a mere backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines, and what it means to be human. The second issue saw Rai and Raijin continue their hunt for an Offspring. That took them through a sector of New Japan that fell to Earth. It bore a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. It was here the duo came across an idyllic looking model home that felt like an incredibly advanced Alexa or Google Home.

The first two issues have been stellar comics. It’s also worth praising each issue for the different angle that they take. The series has touched upon how reliant we’re becoming on technology and whether we’re losing sight of who we are without it.

Rai #3, somehow, lived up to my expectations.

We find Rai effectively comatose with no explanation. Raijin’s trying to make sense of why his companion is nonresponsive to any stimuli. Without wanting to get into spoiler territory, it’s difficult to explain why this comic met my expectations. Doing so in any great detail will probably reveal far more than I’d like to regarding the story. Suffice to say that the comic made me think about personal security in the digital age. This may also be in part because of my day job and the training I’ve been doing at work. As seems to be the case, I’ll probably touch more on this in the review for the next issue.

Dan Abnett has woven a compelling story. It features some real-world commentary that has never been more relevant nor timeless when it comes to the use of technology. But my love of the between-the-lines story isn’t at the expense of the comic itself; Abnett has delivered an incredible story in every way.

Rai #3 is rounded out by one of the finest artists in comics in Juan Jose Ryp along with the versatility of colorist Andrew Dalhouse. The futuristic visual style in the comic must be somewhere between a dream and a nightmare for an artist; depending on the comic, Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house. To say that I have yet to be tired or bored by the art would be an understatement because I can’t remember a time when I have been as excited as I have been to scroll down in the review copy just to see the art. And then when reading it again in print to see the art without a watermark.

Usually when you get writing or artwork of this caliber then the other tends to be a little overshadowed, but that’s not the case here. The comic is as visually exciting as the story is deep.

As a series, Rai has transcended any expectation I had for it; this is a gem of science fiction storytelling and a damn fine comic. Please, don’t miss this series.

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

Review: Rai #2

Rai #2

Can the cyborg samurai Rai and his robot boy sidekick escape a sentient madhouse in Rai #2?!

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I think it’s volume three technically, though it’s the second first issue since Valiant relaunched in 2012. Every aspect of the first issue blew me away. I honestly expected this issue to come off a little poorer in comparison due to that.

Spoiler: It doesn’t.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines. This issue sees Rai and Raijin continue their search for more pieces of Father – the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely.

Rai #2 begins with Rai and Raijin in the hunt for one of the Offspring Father needs to absorb. It takes them through a sector of New Japan that fell to earth which bears a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. That strikes quite the dichotomy with a rather idyllic looking model home. It isn’t much of a spoiler to say that Rai and Raijin approach and enter the home. By the time the fourth page is over they’re in the house.

Dan Abnett comes at the artificial intelligence angle from a slightly different perspective in the second issue. Rather than a discussion between two brothers (though the dynamic is a unique one; the chronologically older one is the child, whilst the younger one act much more adult like), Abnett uses the AI within the house to ask whether it is ethical to create artificial assistants with enough autonomy to function and then leave them alone for a significant period of time. For anyone who talks to a Siri, Alexa or Google, I’m sure that you’ve often wanted a physical representation of the virtual assistant to make you a real cup of coffee. What if you were able to get one that eventually fell into disuse?

It’s at this point that the comic distinguishes itself as more than just a follow up to an issue of the year contender. It stands as a fantastic issue in its own right. Dan Abnett two for two when it comes to fantastic issues. If he can keep this level of quality up, Rai will go down as one of the best comic series.

Yes, I think it’s that good.

Joining Abnett is the ever astounding artist Juan Jose Ryp and colourist Andrew Dalhouse. The pair were spectacular last week, and are just as good here. Ryp’s hyper detailed style is superbly suited for a post apocalyptic world, and the way he shifts from the derelict and abandoned streets to the manicured lawn and clean lines of the model home is almost jarring. Dalhouse’s colouring also plays a part in the transition between the two settings. His work is also top notch in Rai #2; the starkness of the streets contrasts powerfully with the model home, as is emblematic of the comic’s soul.

Rai #1 was one of the best comics I’d read all year, and much to my surprise the second issue is every bit as good as the first. Welcome to your new favorite series.

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

Preview: The Sons Of El Topo: Abel Vol. 2 HC

The Sons Of El Topo: Abel Vol. 2  HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer:  Alejandro Jodorowsky
Artist: Ladrönn
Translator: Edward Gauvin
Colorist: Ladrönn, Hugo Sebastian Facio
Letterer: Daron Bennett
Cover Artist: José Ladrönn
Price: $19.99

The ongoing sequel to cult film, El Topo, from cult-favorite filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Cain and Abel reunite following the death of Abel’s saintly mother, but the reunion is not without trouble. Cain’s quick to anger and his penchant for hate and violence quickly overcome the brothers already contentious relationship.

In a virtuosic journey of untethered magic, corrupted faith, and lust, cult-filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and master illustrator José Ladrönn continue the complex story of two brothers at odds after the death of their saintly father, the legendary El Topo.

The Sons Of El Topo: Abel Vol. 2  HC

Advance Review: Rai #2

Rai #2

Can the cyborg samurai Rai and his robot boy sidekick escape a sentient madhouse in Rai #2?!

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I think it’s volume three technically, though it’s the second first issue since Valiant relaunched in 2012. Every aspect of the first issue blew me away. I honestly expected this issue to come off a little poorer in comparison due to that.

Spoiler: It doesn’t.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines. This issue sees Rai and Raijin continue their search for more pieces of Father – the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely.

Rai #2 begins with Rai and Raijin in the hunt for one of the Offspring Father needs to absorb. It takes them through a sector of New Japan that fell to earth which bears a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. That strikes quite the dichotomy with a rather idyllic looking model home. It isn’t much of a spoiler to say that Rai and Raijin approach and enter the home. By the time the fourth page is over they’re in the house.

Dan Abnett comes at the artificial intelligence angle from a slightly different perspective in the second issue. Rather than a discussion between two brothers (though the dynamic is a unique one; the chronologically older one is the child, whilst the younger one act much more adult like), Abnett uses the AI within the house to ask whether it is ethical to create artificial assistants with enough autonomy to function and then leave them alone for a significant period of time. For anyone who talks to a Siri, Alexa or Google, I’m sure that you’ve often wanted a physical representation of the virtual assistant to make you a real cup of coffee. What if you were able to get one that eventually fell into disuse?

It’s at this point that the comic distinguishes itself as more than just a follow up to an issue of the year contender. It stands as a fantastic issue in its own right. Dan Abnett two for two when it comes to fantastic issues. If he can keep this level of quality up, Rai will go down as one of the best comic series.

Yes, I think it’s that good.

Joining Abnett is the ever astounding artist Juan Jose Ryp and colourist Andrew Dalhouse. The pair were spectacular last week, and are just as good here. Ryp’s hyper detailed style is superbly suited for a post apocalyptic world, and the way he shifts from the derelict and abandoned streets to the manicured lawn and clean lines of the model home is almost jarring. Dalhouse’s colouring also plays a part in the transition between the two settings. His work is also top notch in Rai #2; the starkness of the streets contrasts powerfully with the model home, as is emblematic of the comic’s soul.

Rai #1 was one of the best comics I’d read all year, and much to my surprise the second issue is every bit as good as the first. Welcome to your new favorite series.

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

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

Preview: RAI #1

RAI #1

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover A by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover B by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
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: The Sons Of El Topo Vol. 1: Cain OGN HC

The Sons Of El Topo Vol. 1: Cain OGN HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Artist: Jóse Ladrönn
Colorist: Jóse Ladrönn & Hugo Sebastian Facio
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Translator: Edward Gauvin
Cover Artist: Jóse Ladrönn
Price: $19.99

Legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Incal, Metabarons) and virtuosic illustrator José Ladrönn (Cable, Incredible Hulk) deliver a sequel to Jodorowsky’s cult classic film, El Topo.

El Topo was once a bandit without limits, a man with no moral compass, until his journey through the desert brought him to religion and enlightenment. As he became a holy vessel imbued with the power to perform miracles, he left behind his first born son Cain, and brought forth the birth of Abel.

Fueled by resentment, and unable to kill his saintly father, Cain begins the slow pursuit of his half brother in a tale of magic and mayhem.

BOOM! Studios Releases a First Look at The Sons of El Topo

BOOM! Studios has unveiled a first look at The Sons of El Topo Volume One: Cain, a hardcover original graphic novel, available in December 19th 2018 at comic shops and December 25th at bookstores, from legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and virtuosic illustrator José Ladrönn that continues the 1970 Mexican Acid Western film written, scored, directed by and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky himself.

The merciless gunslinger El Topo has abandoned his pursuit of ultimate gun mastery to find enlightenment in the unlikeliest of places and is forever transformed, becoming a holy vessel imbued with the power to perform miracles and cheat death. But just as he gains sainthood, tragedy strikes as his community of outcasts is murdered before his eyes and his long-abandoned Hijo, Cain, returns to kill the father who discarded him many years ago.

Fueled by resentment but unable to strike his saintly father, Cain instead vows to hunt down his half-brother Abel, leading to an astonishing quest in The Sons of El Topo Volume One: Cain, featuring a haunting cover by José Ladrönn, and continuing the legend in graphic novel format.

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