It’s the final standoff against Fusion and the denizens of New Ur with our post-apocalyptic cyborg samurai in RAI #10. A mysterious power rises from the era before New Japan, but is the reemergence of this force for good, or something a shade darker?
Please note that there may be minor spoilers for RAI #10 below. If you want to avoid them completely, skip right to the end where you’ll find a glowing recommendation.
There is no doubt whatsoever that RAI is Valiant’s best title right now, and in my mind one of the top three titles on the racks (it’s certainly the most consistent in quality). Which brings me to a strange conundrum; the consistency and quality of the book is such that beyond talking about the plot itself, there’s little that I haven’t already written about the comic left to say.
It’s honestly a lovely situation to be in.
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?
Okay. After RAI #9 left our heroes confronting a positronic citizen who had absorbed two of Father’s Seeds, the issue was slower with more dialogue and exposition in the comic than outright action – that is far from the case here. Ryp has choreographed one of the most fantastic fight scenes I’ve seen in a long time – the dance as Rai faces off again Fusion across multiple panels and pages is worth picking up the comic for alone. It’s a fantastic piece of artwork that, and Abnett lets the art do the talking as there’s very little words on the page as the two warriors face off in a a deadly duel.
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. Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless – which should not shock readers at this point. The comic is a masterpiece from start to finish.
We also get to see the results of Spylocke’s digital war against Bloodfather, or the Red King, as he finally has a lock on her location – the culmination of that subplot had me grinning from ear to ear as the comic came to a close, though I was left with the deeply unsatisfying feeling of having to wait an unknown amount of time for the story to continue.
With RAI #10, Abnett, Ryp, Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe have, yet again, delivered a phenomenal comic; if you’ve not been reading the book so far, then this is an excellent time to pick up the trades and find out what you’ve been missing. RAI #10, the conclusion to the first volume of the story is every bit as good as the previous nine issues, with only one slight flaw: the next volume doesn’t start next month.
This series has become one of my absolute favourites, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. I just hope I don’t need to wait too long.
Story: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan José Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review