by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain
After agreeing to help Spylocke at the end of issue #4, Rai returns to Father as if nothing has happened, though it’s obvious that Father has some doubts about whether Rai has been compromised after his encounter with Dr. Silk. He continuously probes Rai’s mind, even serving him poisoned soup to try to get Rai to let his guard down, but Rai manages to keep his mind clear and his thoughts hidden. Meanwhile, there are several other threads from the book’s first arc being explored. Spylocke has set up a meeting between Silk, Rai, Toshiro – the leader of the Raddies, and himself to further cement their plans to take father down, Lula has finally acquired her first positronic companion, and the rogue positron Momo is searching for an ally in the mysterious half-man, half-positron being named Izak.
Rai #5 is a little slower-paced than what we’ve seen from the past few issues, but in all fairness, it is the start of a new arc which for Valiant books generally serves as a good jumping on point for new readers. While new readers may be left a little confused as to who all these characters are, there is no doubt enough exposition given through Rai and Spylocke’s inner monologues that a basic understanding of what’s happened in the first arc is pretty easy to come by.
For returning readers, Matt Kindt picks up right where he left off in the first arc and further expands the world of 4001 AD. There are some interesting new revelations about Father and the real fate of Rai’s mother, but in the spirit of this book, there is just enough information given without revealing too much. By the way, using yourself to inform readers about who Spylocke is, bravo Mr. Kindt!
The most interesting part of this story to me is the threads tying Momo to the plot to kill Father. The introduction of Izak’s character is an interesting one, and readers of the Valiant Magnus series may remember a similar character from that book. Whether there is a connection remains to be seen, but Kindt is masterfully weaving in elements from all of the original 4001 AD stories into this new book and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
Clayton Crain’s art continues to impress and it’s no wonder that the Valiant higher-ups decided to put the book on hiatus to allow Crain the time required to work on this book. Each and every panel is full of vibrant detail and color and which bring about the various environments of New Japan to really come to life. There is so much visual information in each and every panel and it would be perfectly understandable to see Valiant take the same publishing approach to this book after this next arc is over to keep the artistic quality as high as it is.
The hiatus was well worth the wait to finally get to experience what the second arc of Rai has to offer. Matt Kindt continues to craft a brilliantly suspenseful science fiction tale with a noir feel and Crain’s art is just as engrossing as ever. Pick this book up!
Originally from ValiantCentral.com