By Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain
“Please tell me why, do we build castles in the sky
Oh tell me why, all the castles way up high.”
― Ian Van Dahl
This book is getting outright ridiculously awesome in every way possible! Month after month, page after page, Kindt and Crain have provided the industry a master-class in comic book excellence with their creative run on Valiant Entertainment’s Rai. How this book series was overlooked for a Harvey Award this year is completely mind-boggling and potentially indicates a flawed voting/selection process by the current establishment which appears in this case more based on popularity than actual content. Rai is must a must-read title, to such a degree that you (if you have not done so already…) are encouraged and/or challenged to literally go out and purchase all issues (e.g. Rai #1 through #10) and read them all cover to cover over the course of a day or two! They (presently) do not require any additional reading within the Valiant Universe to enjoy (though reading Eternal Warrior #5 though #8; Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak #1; and The Valiant #1 through #4 would enhance your reading slightly).
Writer Matt Kindt has created the world of 4001 in the Valiant Universe that Rai takes place in that is so detailed and vast that it could honestly be the foundation for multiple titles occurring within that world and time. There exists tremendous potential for this title! Not a single issue, (not even one) has been anything less than incredible since it was launched on April 30, 2014. In-terms of written content and artistically (this book looks like nothing else in the industry presently), Rai is a “winning” book that Charlie Sheen himself would be proud to read. Rai #11 continues to build upon the same story foundation established in Rai #1 through #10. The entire series is a huge story arc, that just continues to grow, expand, entertain, and fulfill! Kindt’s vision for Rai is well thought out, and nothing short of outstanding storytelling. Fans and readers of the title are likely to be absolutely amped about the direction of Rai is going, in addition to who he encounters in his quest.
Artist Clayton Crain serves double duty on Rai. He brings Kindt’s story to life with his unique digital paintings; each cover and page is an utter visual masterpiece. As such, Crain is also the colorist for his own work, which include layer upon layer of vibrant (almost unreal) colors with a textured quality that makes you almost able to “feel” the artwork with your fingers. Crain’s work on this title is something so good, that it should be considered an example of what is artistically possible with comic books, and some years from today, artists within the industry will be inspired by his work to explore new artistic and creative methods of their own to tell the stories of tomorrow. Crain can be compared to an “Alex Ross” of today, but with a completely different style and approach. Rai #11, as with all issues of Rai, is artistically flawless.
If you are on the fence about, or even just entertaining the notion of reading Rai, just do it without any further hesitation. This title is fantastic, so please do yourself a favor and start reading it now!