Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Matt Kindt
Release Date: 18th May, 2016
We pick up the history of New Japan with Rai V. It’s the 36th century and the work of the current Rai has heralded a time of peace for the populace. Things are changing though, and the time of this Rai is drawing to a close. A sense of unrest is growing in New Japan and this iteration of Father’s protector is not equipped to handle what is coming. Time for a new Rai.
I can’t recommend this current arc of Rai enough. With (our) Rai currently on duty in 4001 A.D., Matt Kindt is giving us the history of New Japan through the eyes of his successors. It’s fantastic backstory fodder. Seeing the evolution of New Japan through the eyes of Rai(s) and Father helps to solidify the world building Matt has created in the future Valiant Universe. It’s like finding a lost piece of a jigsaw puzzle that you didn’t realise was incomplete.
This art of Rai is beautiful, Cafu’s drawing and the colours of Andrew Dalhouse have a kind of pacifying tranquility to them. The fact that the art carries such a tranquil nature belies quite a brutal story. Indeed, the themes in play are a stark contrast to the harmonious environs of New Japan. It’s almost sterile in it’s cleanliness, which is exactly what this episode of Rai is about. New Japan is Fathers experiment – he even says so in the issue – and every 100 years he sanitises what he thinks has gone wrong and starts again. This includes the current Rai. A new one is introduced to shepherd the direction Father wants to push the population in for the next 100 years.
I immediately like Rai V, and I want to know what will happen to her. We know Rai VII survived being cast down to Earth, I find myself rooting for her survival too. In fact, Matt Kindt has created two great characters in this issue, the second being Mary Anger, a rogue P.T. She’s like a cool, futuristic Ghandi, and Cafu’s character design is awesome. She deserves more than one issue, I hope she gets it.
You really should be reading this arc of Rai. It’s a good starting point for new readers, and for those following Rai from the beginning you will love getting to grips with Father’s evolution. Be warned though, seeing Father as an animated pool of Livewire is pretty terrifying. It may keep you up at night. Only kidding. Maybe….
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.