Synopsis: 4001 years into the future, the world has become a very different place. Rai has liberated himself and others from the tyranny of Father, the artificial intelligence that rule New Japan with an iron first. With New Japan destroyed, Rai, along with the Eternal Warrior and this age’s Geomancer, must forge a new path on a hostile earth. Before they press forward, Gilad recounts the history of Earth. Once Rai and the Geomancer hear what has transpired over eons, how will they find a way to avoid the disasters of the past?
Review: The Valiant universe has a storied history. Following a series like Harbinger or X-O Manowar only gives a slight glimpse into the vastness everything that has occurred. Major events will give brief recaps for the world here and there, but it is rare to see an issue so succinctly recount events without it seeming dull. Rafer Roberts does a great job of framing this issue with Gilad. The eternal warrior’s words convey a sense of weariness to the reader. On the other hand, reliving the dynamics events of Valiant seem full of energy. It is this balance that grants this issue a sense of immediacy as if these events were happening all over again.
Franas Portela has a difficult job to accomplish because the bulk of the entire issue depicts scenes readers have already seen in some capacity. If the art doesn’t reach a certain bar, the entire issue comes across as stale. Portela has clearly avoided such a pitfall. Specifically, the scenes with Toyo Harada really stand out. Seeing Harada as a child before and after the atomic bombs were detonated is incredibly powerful. Panel after panel, portela demonstrates a command of distilling powerful events is palpable scenes.
Make no bones about it, Rai is the clip show of comic issues. Done poorly, it would have been absolutely boring, but this team knows what it is doing. Fans of Valiant should pick this issue up for a refresher course.