By Matt Kindt, Clayton Crain and Dave Lanphear
After seven magnificent issues, Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain finally bring everything they’ve been working so hard towards to light. This world that Kindt and Crain have built is a lot larger than we’ve been lead to believe and we’re only just now starting to really see it all and beginning to understand the scope that Rai has.
By the end of issue eight, Kindt completely turns Rai on its head and changes everything, just as you were starting to settle into the series and get used to it all. Kindt has a real talent for keeping things fresh and moving forward, and with this issue, there might not be a better example of that. He’s opening things up for so much more—maybe opened it up to a throw back to VH1 Valiant in the 90s where the Rai series changed by issue nine. Some sort of Force from the Future?—and without giving it all away because you (yes, you) need to read this for yourself; the possibilities in this far future are endless, particularly with some of the more Eternal characters from the Valiant Universe.
As you might expect, Clayton Crain is on point here. It’s such an unbelievable treat to see his art and witness his genius, even if it might not be on a monthly basis, especially on a book like Rai where he can pretty much just let everything go and do as he pleases. There’s a ton of room in the world that he and Kindt have built to just let the insanity out; design some crazy places and characters, or monsters or things that maybe he just feels like drawing on any given day and he certainly never fails to impress. All his characters that we’ve seen, and the new ones we’re introduced to, have a personality all their own and it’s absolutely wonderful to see. Crain’s work is so fresh and so unique and it adds one more layer of something special to the Valiant Universe that we, really, can’t ever live without because it’s just that damn good.
Also worth mentioning, because letterers rarely get their time, is Dave Lanphear’s work here on Rai #8. From the regular speech font of characters like Rai and Silk, to the awesome looking way he’s portrayed Father’s voice, Lanphear really shines. It’s a little thing that gets easily overlooked by a lot of readers, but Lanphear manages to add these speech bubbles and sound effects in such a way that it doesn’t overpower Crain’s work or take away from what Kindt is trying to say. It’s a fantastic talent and skill and one that gets passed over far too often.
The only downside of Rai #8 is one little word on the very last page, advertising the next issue. That word is August and who knows if anybody can wait that long for more of this excellent series, but at least it gives those who’ve fallen behind more than enough time to catch up and it certainly will give Mr. Crain some time to get back on schedule. Read this, catch up, re-read this, whatever, as long as you have some Rai in your life.