Tag Archives: rai

Review: Rai #4

Rai #4

In Rai #4, Rai’s quest to rid the world of his nemesis puts him on a collision course with one of his closest allies: The Eternal Warrior!

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 Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have. Although it follows on from Fallen World’s events Rai can be read entirely separate from the miniseries. The overarching plot has Rai and Raijin searching for Offspirng. It’s pieces of code or AI that when returned to Father will make him nigh unstoppable.

A hallmark of the series so far has been presenting a question within the story for readers. The first issue explored the evolution of machines and what it means to be human. The second issue asked us to rethink how we take for granted the limited AI devices in our lives and how they could work toward sentience. The third issue was full of allegories for online privacy. The fourth issue tells us to rethink how we treat others, and whether a machine is nothing but a tool. Dan Abnett also touches on the nature of evil; is it something you do or something you are? Do you deserve to be judged on what might happen or what will happen?

After an issue story that played heavily into online privacy and consent, with a comatose Rai being forced into a conversation with somebody who had hacked his operating system, you could expect Abnett to give you a bit of a break this issue. And he does. Kinda. If you don’t pay attention to the undertones of Rai #4. If you want to gloss over the unspoken questions then you’ll still find a fun comic. The depths add an interesting layer to a story that is the best thing I’ve read since the previous issue.

I will never make any secret of the fact I am a big fan of the Eternal Warrior. I always enjoy seeing him in the various time periods that Valiant has shown him in across the years. Seeing him teased in the pages of the previous issues had me anticipating how he’d end up returning. I’ve got to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the character’s return, and the verbal sparring between the Eternal Warrior and Rai only serves to underline what Abnett is asking in a very natural and organic conversation.

Rai #4 once again has Juan Jose Ryp providing the artwork with Andrew Dalhouse and Dave Sharpe on colors and letters respectively. It’s hard to talk about how great this book is without heaping praise on the artists that work on it, but truthfully the team met every expectation that I had for them once again. Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house so far in this book among other elements that we haven’t conceived of yet, and each and every page has been fresh and exciting.

There were a couple of minor blips for me this issue, primarily around the Eternal Warrior’s beard, but they’re so inconsequential in the long run that I’m not factoring them in with the overall visual experience. Especially since it’s something most of you probably won’t even be bothered by. No, honestly I have no objective complaints about either the art or the writing in this book.

At this point, if I could only read one comic a month, then it would be Rai.

Writer: 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

Preview: Rai #4

RAI #4

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KAEL NGU
Cover B by SIMON BISLEY
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
Pre-Order Edition Cover by ADAM GORHAM
On sale FEBRUARY 12 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Rai’s quest to rid the world of his nemesis puts him on a collision course with one of his closest allies: The Eternal Warrior!

RAI #4

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Gwen Stacy #1

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alienated #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Three teenagers stumble upon an unearthly entity as it’s born. That cute little pet is a super-predator in the making, and it’s in need prey. The concept sounds fascinating and BOOM! has been nailing it as far as quality.

Batman: Pennyworth RIP #1 (DC Comics) – Alfred is dead (for now) and while the impact has been touched upon, it’s been missing that focus. Well, here it is.

Big Black Stand At Attica (BOOM! Studios) – The true story about the uprising at Attica Prison.

Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #4 (AHOY Comics) – One of the best comics out there that’s both a love letter, homage, and spoof of comics throughout history. A must for fans of the superhero genre.

Go To Sleep, I Miss You: Cartoons From the Fog of New Parenthood (First Second) – As a parent, these short cartoons are so funny and hit home.

Gwen Stacy #1 (Marvel) – Marvel’s been doing a solid job of filling in history recently and this new series gives us the unknown history of Gwen Stacy.

Hawkeye Freefall #3 (Marvel) – The first two issues were so much fun and we’re expecting more of the same.

Rai (2019) #4 (Valiant) – One of the best comics on the market right now. Each issue has been fantastic.

Tartarus #1 (Image Comics) – A cadet is framed for crimes agains tthe empire after discovering her mother was a ruthless warlord. Sounds entertaining to us!

Undone By Blood #1 (Aftershock) – A tale of revenge set in the 1970s. It’s like this comic was made specifically for us.

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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Undiscovered Country #3

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Bloodshot #5 (Valiant) – We’re excited for the movie and the new volume has been a lot of fun. Hop on the bandwagon now!

Green Lantern Legacy (DC Comics) – DC has been knocking it out of the park with their graphic novels for younger readers. We’re excited to see what this new takes on the Green Lantern myth is like.

Hellboy Winter Special 2019 (Dark Horse) – Hellboy is always a fun comic and the one-shot “winter specials” are always a good read to pick up and enjoy.

Iron Man 2020 #1 (Marvel) – Tony Stark is “dead” and Arno has taken over as Marvel looks to the rise of the robots in this mini-event to kick of 2020.

James Bond #2 (Dynamite Entertainment) – The first issue was good but odd as a James Bond story. Still, the theft of art is a new situation for the government agent and where this all goes has us interested in this one.

The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #2 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – One of the best comics to come out of DC Black Label so far. It’s quality in both storytelling and art.

Rai #3 (Valiant) – This is one of the best new series out there right now. Each issue has been amazing.

Rising Sun #1 (IDW Publishing) – Another popular board game gets a comic adaptation. It’s always interesting to see what direction these go in. As board game fans, we’re excited.

Second Coming #6 (AHOY Comics) – The first volume wraps up in this smart look at religion and hero worship.

Undiscovered Country #3 (Image Comics) – The first two issues of this series have been a wild ride. We’re excited to find out more about this isolated future America and what it’s warped in to. This is going down the rabbit hole to find a Mad Max world of possibility.

Preview: Rai #3

RAI #3

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by RAÚL ALLÉN
Cover B by MICHAEL WALSH
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
On sale JANUARY 15 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

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

RAI #3

Alex’s Best of 2019

Now that 2019 is in the history books, it’s time to have a look back at some of the comics, movies and events that really stood out for me during the year. Now this is all based on what I’ve read, and if your favourite comic isn’t here, it may be because I may not have read it, not because I didn’t like it.

Just like last year, we’re looking at comics (ongoing or miniseries) without focusing on single issues or breaking them into specific categories, I’m going for everything in one. If it came out in 2019, then it’s fair game for me. Below you’ll find Eight of them in fact, that for one reason or another rocked my socks off. Underneath that, you’ll find my list of comic book/nerd based movies and T.V. shows. Same general format as the comics, though the total number may be different.

I haven’t decided yet.

The Comics

I was playing with the order of these right up until I sent it off for publication. I’ve no idea why I only allowed myself the number I did because there were far more comics I read that I wanted to include here. Comics like X-Force, Batman: Last Knight On Earth, Crecy and X-O Manowar were tough to leave off this list, but at the end of the day the books below are the ones that had me the most excited.

For me, these were the very best books (whether miniseries or ongoing) of the year in a sea of high quality comics from all publishers.

8. The Last God (DC Black Label)

Recency bias? Possibly. But over the three issues of this book that I’ve read, I have become thoroughly enamored with how the twin narratives play into and off each other. I almost missed the comic, if I’m honest. It wasn’t until a coworker at my LCS put it in my hands and told me to take it home that I actually did. I haven’t regretted buying this book for a second as I devoured the three issues one after the other. I’m not normally one for fantasy in my comics, but this year that’s almost exactly what I’ve enjoyed the most.

7. Berserker Unbound (Dark Horse)

I had picked this book up purely because it was a new Jeff Lemire book, and Lemire is an author whom I’ll give his comics a chance without knowing what the story is about because I’ve yet to read a book of his that I don’t life. The four issue story about a barbarian thrown from the realm of fantasy into New York City tackles the loneliness and loss felt by those who have nothing left, and the hope that a new friend can shine upon your life. Plus, it’s brilliantly illustrated, with Mike Deodato Jr. using a fantasy inspired high art style that’s eerily reminiscent of the Conan magazines without ever feeling tired.

6. Dead Man Logan (Marvel)

The final send off for Old Man Logan before his younger counterpart is resurrected properly, this twelve issue series always had an ending that we’d expect. There was no secret that Logan would die in the comic, but Ed Brisson was still able to make you care about the death of an alternate version of a character many consider to have been over exposed for much of the first half of this century. I couldn’t get enough of this character’s story, and to finally see an end to Logan’s story left me feeling complete.

5. The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada (Valiant)

Man oh man. I don’t have enough space to rave about how much I loved this series. It is the culmination of Joshua Dysart’s work on the character which began with Harbinger #1 in the 2012 relaunch of Valiant. This series focused on one of the most complicated men in the Valiant universe, telling the story of his life and death (it’s in the title, it isn’t a spoiler), and we’re left wondering whether Toyo Harada was really the villain he’s often portrayed as or whether he was simply a misunderstood hero whose methods rarely aligned with what the world found acceptable in his quest of Peace – at any cost.”

4. Incursion (Valiant)

Perhaps one of the more underrated of Valiant’s miniseries this year, but but had been on my radar for some time given that one of the featured characters was the Eternal Warrior – easily my favourite character in the Valiant universe (as I type this, I am wearing a custom made Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior shirt), and so I knew I’d lap this series up. I didn’t expect to be so taken with the father/daughter dynamic between Gilad and Tama as they face off against the antithesis of all life in a very private battle for the lives of billions of people – but that was only a happy coincidence for Gilad – he was determined to save the young Geomancer at any cost.

3. Once And Future (BOOM! Studios)

This book took me off guard; when my Those Two Geeks co-host Joe told me to pick it up, I was expecting a pretty decent comic (he’s never yet steered me wrong). Instead I found a re-imagining of Arthurian legend with revelations that are teased out ever so slowly as our protagonist gradually becomes aware of who he is and his place in the world. Maybe because I have an incredible soft spot for Arthurian legends, maybe because Dan Mora’s art is right up my alley, or maybe it’s something else entirely, but I love this series.

2. Voracious: Appetite For Destruction  (Action Lab: Danger Zone)

I’m surprised that this series fell to this spot in my list; Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru’s masterpiece of comic book story telling was among the very best of 2019 – and considering that my expectations were sky bloody high for this series, that it was able to exceed them still blows my mind. I can’t pick one aspect or creator of this series to single out – all deserve an equal measure of praise and credit. Whether it’s Naso’s incredible writing and grasp of dialogue, Muhr’s emotionally powerful art or Tabucaru’s way of breathing life into the pages… each and every aspect of this series was spectacular.

1. Rai (Valiant)

Every once in awhile there comes a series that takes you entirely by surprise. I always hope I’ll like any comic I read because who wants to read a bad comic? But with Rai, I have been consistently shocked. Not because it’s such a marked improvement over Fallen World (which itself was utterly phenomenal and narrowly missed out on this list), but because Dan Abnett has been able to tell such an interesting story with such a simple backdrop. His way of making us question our use and abuse of technology, the loss of our privacy and our seeming inability to distance ourselves from what should be a tool is both as subtle as a butterflies kiss and a sledgehammer to the gut. I’ve never read anything like this before.

(Disclaimer: this is based on having read the first three issues, even though the third issue won’t be released for at least another week at time of publication.)

The Television Shows

I didn’t expect to have so much great TV to watch this year, and I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see it all. For that reason, given the relatively low number of TV shows to comics that were released (and that I’ve seen) I’ve gone with a list of three. If you’re wondering, I have yet to see Watchmen because I don’t have HBO.

3. The Boys (Amazon Prime)

Brutal, bloody and very well written, The Boys is a look at what happens when superheroes are as corrupt as the people they’re supposed to stop. But who stops the heroes? That’s where Billy Butcher (played spectacularly by Karl Urban) and his boys come in. Well worth checking out, but possibly not worth a long subscription to Amazon Prime to do so (unless you’re getting it for the shipping perks).

2. The Mandalorian (Disney+)

If you’re a Star Wars fan, and you haven’t seen this yet, then now is the ideal time to sign up for a free week’s trial of Disney + to get your fix in. This is one of the better live action offerings in the Star Wars canon, certainly it’s in my top two from what has been released this decade. It constantly surprised me how expressive the actor beneath the armour is when you can’t see his face (I say “the actor” because there are times when Pedro Pascal was unable to be on set due to scheduling conflicts and Brendan Wayne stepped in to fill the bounty hunters helmet), and how much emotion is conveyed in the scenes from the score, camera angles and body language.

The Witcher

1. The Witcher (Netflix)

I was waiting for this show ever since I first heard it was coming. 2019 was, for me at least, the year of the Witcher. It was the year I started and finished the books, and the year I invested over a hundred hours into the Playstation 4 version of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. I was ready for the live action adaptation of the books to be somewhere between average and good, but I wasn’t ready for Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra and Joey Batey to bring the characters I envisioned to life so well. I don’t think I have ever seen somebody convey so much emotion and gravitas with a single word as Cavill does so often and so well in this series. While there are some complaints that it feels disjointed, and I understand them, my only suggestion with that is to make it to the finale. Once you do then you’ll want to rewatch the season with a new found understanding of the events that you just witnessed. I don’t remember the last time a TV show left me wanting to reread, rewatch and replay as much as I could of the universe it comes from as The Witcher has. The sooner the soundtrack is available the better.

The Movies

Well… this was certainly a year for movies, eh? Whether it was arguably one of the best DC movies in their live action movie universe or some movie about a bunch of people assembling something, there’s no doubt that this year had a lot of great movies released that fell within our sphere. Now there are movies from this year that I enjoyed more than some of the ones below, but because Aladdin doesn’t really fall into the scope of this list I’ve left it and others off the list. Try as I might, I couldn’t justify putting John Wick 3 on the list either, so I shaved the arbitrary number from eight to five.

5. Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker

I seem to be one of the minority who enjoyed The Last Jedi despite its flaws, but even I’ll admit that movie paled in comparison to the finale of the Skywalker Saga. This was everything I hoped it would be and more. I cannot wait to see it again.

4. Captain Marvel

Part of me is surprised this movie came out in 2019. It’s hard to remember a time before Endgame changed the face of the MCU, but when I looked back I realized that not only did this film come out in 2019, but I enjoyed the shit out of it when I watched it.

3. Joker

I remember leaving the theater after seeing this being a little shaken. This wasn’t what I expected from a comic book movie. Much like Logan, Joker transcends the supposed limitations of comic book films and evolves into a thrilling story about one man’s descent into psychopathy. Now you and I are more than aware that comic book films are just as legitimate pieces of cinema as anybody, but for some reason Joker has pulled in critics looking to talk about Batman’s arch nemesis. While I don’t know if I’ll ever watch the movie again, I will always remember that feeling of watching something special as the credits rolled.

2. Spider-Man: Far From Home

It took me a long time to decide where to place this movie. I want to rewatch this more than any other of the movies on this list, but struggled to place it above Endgame because of what that movie represented in the culmination of the entire MCU up until that moment. But why do I want to watch this more than Endgame? Because Spider-Man: Far From Home has some fantastic acting from the entire cast, especially Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhal, and it also feels a lot more personal than the exhaustively epic scope of Endgame. At this point, I’m comfortable saying that this is my favourite Spider-Man film yet.

1. Avengers: Endgame

Well shit. What can I really say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? When you look at it as a movie, it’s really good. The journey that Thor, Captain America and Iron Man take in the film alone could easily be the basis of solo films, likewise with Clint Barton. The finale is breathtaking in its scope, with each character getting their moment to shine amidst the madness. But when you take Endgame as a whole, as the culmination of twenty plus movies over more than ten years, it is unparalleled. I don’t honestly think I will see another film like it ever again.

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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Annihilation Scourge: Beta Ray Bill #1/Annihilation Scourge: Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel) – The return of Marvel’s cosmic has been entertaining so far and though the creative team has been different from the previous Annhilation events, it feels like a solid follow up.

The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – Frank Miller’s latest chapter in his take on Batman.

Far Sector #2 (DC Comics/DC’s Young Animal) – The first issue introduced us to a new Green Lantern and a brand new world. It was an amazing opening with great writing and fantastic art. We’re excited to see where it goes.

Doom 2099 #1/Spider-Man 2099 #1 (Marvel) – Marvel’s return to the world of 2099 has been weird but we’re holding in hoping it all becomes clearer.

Dying is Easy #1 (IDW Publishing) – A new series from Joe Hill and Martin Simmonds follows a disgraced former cop turned stand-up comic turned felon? We’re intrigued.

The Goon #7 (Albatross Funnybooks) – One of the most fun series out there right now.

Rai #2 (Valiant) – One of the best new series of the years. It’s not too late to get in on this which focuses on the future of the Valiant universe.

The Red Mother #1 (BOOM! Studios) – BOOM! has been rocking the new series with each seeing numerous sell-outs. We’re in for this new horror series.

Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1 (Marvel) – The first volume surprisingly worked as it explored a new chapter during Spider-Man’s blacksuit days. We’re hoping for more of the same fun.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 (IDW Publishing) – Hitting such a huge number, we’re excited to see what IDW has in store.

Undiscovered Country #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue was fantastic as a world contingent entered a United States that has been cut off from the world for decades. The reveal was completely unexpected and promises a wild ride.

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