Posts Tagged With: Rai

Thought Balloon/Review: Valiant Entertainment’s 4001 A.D Summer “Event”

4001-ad-summer-event

A few weeks ago saw the conclusion to Valiant Entertainment’s summer event, 4001 A.D.

First off, let me tell you that I loved this story! I enjoyed everything that Valiant published for the 4001 A.D series, but I just don’t feel that this really qualifies as an “event”, at least in the way that most comic fans are used to.

To start off, let me give you a rundown of how this “event” was organized. The main story, told in 4001 A.D, involves a conflict between Father, the AI the space station that is New Japan, and Rai, Father’s protector over New Japan and his weapon against any who oppose him. You can learn everything leading up to this event in the first 12 issues of Rai, which has been collected in an exquisite hardcover deluxe collection. Without getting into too many specifics, Rai joins forces with the future Gilad, the Eternal Warrior and together they battle their way back onto New Japan and defeat Father, who has succumb to a virus and is separating sections of New Japan and sending them crashing to Earth. If you just want to know about the 4001 A.D storyline, proper, all you really need to read are these 4 issues.

The second story is told within the pages of Rai. Spanning issue 13 through issue 16, we actually get a glimpse into the past and learn about the first Rai, a female Rai and the Rai before our current hero. Overall, these issues have nothing to do with the main “event”, but do help flesh out the setting and show us what some of the other Rai’s were like. Issue 16 is important, because it takes place directly before issue 1 and sets up the entire series.

The last, and mostly fringe, stories are told within the various one-shots that involve the other heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the X-O Manowar issue, we learn about the origin of the X-O Mecha that Rai and Gilad use to get back to New Japan. In the Bloodshot issue, you discover that Bloodshot’s nanites have evolved past their original intent and are being on their own. In the Shadowman issue, we learn about an Earth city with a connection to the Deadside, and the formation of a new Shadow person. Lastly, in War Mother, we’re introduced to a new character, a hunter and scavenger of New Japan tech with a sentient rifle. With the exception of the X-O Manowar and Bloodshot issues, I believe that the stories told in Shadowman and War Mother will become a bigger part of Rai’s world come 4002 A.D.

So, with a third of the “events” issues taking place in the past, and the other third taking place on Earth, in separate communities, I feel that this is not a normal comic “event”. While this doesn’t change my opinion of the overall story or my love affair with Valiant, I feel that comic companies need “events” to sell titles and get comic shops interested in buying odd, random one-shots and new mini-series. I wish comics were in a different place right now, but they aren’t. Marvel is constantly doing massive, for over-reaching “events”, many of which are never completed on time, dragging on for months, while DC keeps reinventing itself in hope of catching up to Marvel’s numbers and sales. With these two big juggernauts out there, I can see why Valiant calls this little story, which takes place in the future of their universe, an “event”, because they need that boost, just to get shelf space.

I’m really, really tired of “events”! I remember when they used to be fun and exciting and rare. I can get behind what Valiant’s doing here, making the “event” accessible, by breaking the story up into groups, so that you don’t have to go broke reading everything, I just wish they would save the word, “event” for something bigger!

 

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Review: Rai #9

Rai #9Title: Rai #9

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

Lula, Grace and the captive Geomancer are on the run from Father’s forces. As they hide, Lula explains more about New Japan and some of it’s culture, filling both us and the young girl on this society. Story time doesn’t continue for too long before the Fish-Eyes find them and the girls are forced to run. Spylocke is being tortured for information while Father spreads more propaganda, against all of his enemies: the Positrons, the Raddies and  Rai X. He has replaced Rai with Rai XI, a completely artificial body that Father can directly control. Izak kills Father’s report to send him a message and returns to Momo, who is hiding in the sewers of New Japan. Both Momo and Lula lament over the Rai’s death, but we discover that Rai has survived his fall to Earth, but is quickly dispatched by scavengers on the planet’s surface.

It’s back baby, Rai has returned! After a four month hiatus, this excellent series returns with a fantastic issue. So it appears that four months of actual time have passed since issues #8 and #9 and all of Rai’s allies have scattered or been captured. While I expected Rai to survive his fall, I didn’t expect him to be so weak and dispatched so easily by the survivors on Earth. I really enjoy the setting of New Japan and loved getting more background on the world, even if it’s just about some rings that people give one another. This issue is great and not to be missed. If you’ve been reading Rai, immediately pick this one up! If you haven’t yet been introduced to this series, grab the collections and start, because it’s one of the best series on the stand today!

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Review: Rai #8

Rai #8Title: Rai #8

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

Spylocke returns to New Japan with Rai VIII just in time to witness Rai not only, stop the war between the Raddies and the Positrons, but bring the two sides together to battle the real enemy, Father. Rai and Rai VIII team together, with Rai giving some of his powers to the former Protector of Japan. As the Raddies and the Positrons battle Father’s forces, Rai VIII is successful in his mission to bleed Father of his Livewire, which Rai makes his way to Father “himself”. Father is ready for Rai and summons his newest warrior an advanced fish-eye, dubbed X-Eye. Rai and the massive construct battle through many levels of Japan, but Rai is overpowered and the X-Eye throws him through an observational window down to Earth. Luna witnesses the fall of Rai, but has successfully rescued the trapped Geomancer from Father’s prison. As Rai falls to Earth we learn that Silk has been working with Father the entire time. Rai survives his fall to Earth, landing in one of the planet’s oceans, but is swallowed whole by a large sea creature.

This, second book of Rai, ends much darker than book one, but the stakes have been raised. We still don’t know who or what father is, and I can’t wait to find out “his” identity. I’m not certain Rai is dead, however if he were, it would follow with the fate of Rai from the original Valiant Universe. I love the supporting cast in this book, and hope to see more of Luna and Rai VIII in the next book. As with every issue of this series, the story and art are both fantastic, making this a must read series. Why do I have to wait until August for issue #9!

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Review: Rai #7

Rai #7Title: Rai #7

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

While in the Fungal Farms, Momo tells Rai her story and why she wants to help free save the Positrons from the Raddies, who attack using dinosaurs from the Prehistoric Replica Sector. On Earth, Spylocke makes his way, battling ninjas to find Rai VIII, who is still alive on the planet. Lula and Grace use their “cereal” explosive to blow a way into Father’s secret room while Rai and Silk battle the Raddies, which seems to be a losing battle. However all is not lost and Spylocke and Rai VIII return with perfect timing and Lula and Grace discover that Father has this century’s Geomancer captive, connected to his machines.

This is one crazy series that keeps getting better, and it’s already great! The art is the BEST out there! Believe me, I’ve seen nothing like it. The story is very interesting, mixing science fiction with the superheroes of the Valiant Universe. I still really love the little “nods” to the Valiant U (Livewire, Rai’s resemblance to Bloodshot) that are there, but other than Silk, and now the Geomancer, we haven’t seen too much influence from the other Valiant heroes or villains. I can’t wait to find out who or what Father is and what his, it’s game really is!

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Review: Ivar, Timewalker #1

Ivar, Timewalker #1Title: Ivar, Timewalker #1

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Fred Van Lente (writer) with Clayton Henry (artist)

Ivar, the immortal brother of Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, and Aram, also known as Armstrong, is a time traveler, using invisible time arcs, which he can track, to travel the infinity of time and space. This issue brings Ivar to the present to stop a scientist, Neela Sethi, from inventing time travel. At first the scientist doesn’t believe him (who would, right?), but when men show up to capture her, Ivar helps stop them and takes Neela into one of the time arcs. Ivar reveals that the men aren’t men, but mechanoids, called Prometheans, who originate from the fifth dimension. After some hijinks on sailing ships of old, Ivar and Neela uses several time arcs to throw off the Prometheans, eventually ending up in New Japan of the year 4001. In this future, Ivar tells Neela that he needs her help to stop Oblivi-1 and the Prometheans. As Neela struggles with this knowledge and decided whether or not to believe Ivar, in the far, far future, on Oblivi-1, we learn that the creator, or at least, controller of the Prometheans is known other than a future version of Neela herself!

A great first issue for Ivar, Timewalker. While I definitely think more time could have been spent on catching those up to speed on who Ivar is and what the time arcs are, especially for new readers, it kinda fits, as the readers are living this experience like Neela, new to it all. The story is great, with lots of action, time travel goodness and New Japan, which I did not expect to see. The art is equally as good, but good story and art are things that I expect from Valiant at this point. I can’t wait to see where we go with this series, since we can literally go anywhere and to anytime!

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Review: Rai #6

Rai #6Title: Rai #6

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

We learn that the creature that Momo discovered in the sewers of New Japan is actually and alien-positron hybrid named Izak. Father discovered Izak’s ancestor make years ago and used the alien to create more, combining them with Livewire, an artificial substance that give the positrons their “sentience”, and robotics to make an armed force for Japan. However the aliens require blood to sustain themselves and Father sent them all to Earth in order to evolve. Izak escaped and remained in New Japan and found shelter in the sewers. Momo and Izak set out to destroy Father and bring Japan crashing down to Earth. Spylocke pays a visit to one of Silk’s clones, looking for a way off Japan and to Earth, while Momo and Izak meet Rai in the Fungal Farms. Izak and Rai have a short battle, but Momo stops them from fighting, showing them that they are all on the same side. Spylocke kills the Silk clone and liberates from him one of his cloaked ships and leaves Japan and heads to Earth.

Once again, there is so much going on in this issue, that my synopsis does not do it justice. I could never go over everything that happens in this issue, which is why you should be reading this series. There really isn’t much to say about this title: it features a great setting and story and has the BEST art in any comic publish today, what more do I need to say?!

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Review: Rai #5

Rai #5Title: Rai #5

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

Rai is back…with Father and continuing to be his champion. However this is a ruse, and Rai must clear his mind and trick Father in to believing that he still believes in him/it. Rai, Spylocke, and Silk are all working together to take down Father. Rai captures Toshiro, the man helping the Raddies, but creating a drug for them that makes them invisible to Father. Toshiro also tells Rai about his mother, and that Father killed her, not the Raddies. The runaway PT, Momo, is seeking to “help” Rai, by trekking into the bowls of Japan and seeking help from some sewer dwelling half human/half PT vampire-parasite creature. In the end, Luna turns 16 and receives her very own PT, named Grace, whom she wants to help her make a bomb!

This is another one of those times that my synopsis doesn’t quite do the issue justice! Rai is a beautiful book with a great setting and story! I love everything about this comic and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite series from Valiant. It’s great to have this series back, and I didn’t mind the break between issues #4 and #5, because if more time gives us great comics like this one, then take all the time you need. The first storyarc introduced us to this world and this storyarc will see our heroes fight back against Father and hopefully free Japan. There isn’t much more to say about this issue, as it is mostly set up for this storyarc! If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you should start with the first paperback collection and then grab this issue!

Recommended

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Review: Rai #4

Rai #4Title: Rai #4

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

Rai has just learned that the woman who’s been murdered, the crime that he’s been investigating, is actually his mother! Yes, Rai is part human, part machine and Father has been lying to him this entire time. After receiving the news, Rai loses control and kills most of Silk’s henchmen and guards, however Silk is too powerful for Rai to beat. Rai leaves Silk’s mansion and runs into Spylocke and Luna, who tell the Spirit Guardian that he isn’t the first Rai and that there are places within Japan that he doesn’t even know about. Using the maps that Luna discovered, Rai travels to Father, where “he” tells his son about the human woman who was indeed his mother and that Rai needs to take out all of the Raddies in order to free Japan from their terror. However Rai doesn’t listen and instead wants to take down Father once and for all.

Another great issue of Rai, which is quickly becoming not only one of my favorite Valiant titles, but one of my favorite series overall. The art and story in this book are unparalleled by almost anything else I read. I wish I didn’t have to wait until December for issue #5, but if time is what this series needs to keep up it’s quality, then I ‘m all for it. Other than the presence of Silk, this title is almost continuity free from the other Valiant titles, so this series, with it’s beautiful art and amazing setting, is a great place to start reading and collecting Valiant comics!

Recommended

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Review: Rai #3

Rai #3Title: Rai #3

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

Rai is able to save the solar collectors by taking the explosion into himself. When the dust settles it appears that he’s dead…only dust. However, Rai is tougher than he appears, and as long as Japan needs him, he’ll live. Rai stops the surviving Raddies and battles a lot more on his way to get to the Raddie Boss! Spylocke begins his plans to reveal something big to Rai and locks Luna in the trunk of his car, so that she won’t get in the way. However, Luna, being ever so cleaver, escapes and tries to find Rai, so she can tell him what she’s discovered. When Rai arrives at the Raddie HQ, it’s revealed that Silk is in charge! Silk reveals that he’s the real Silk and that there are other versions of himself all over Japan and probably the world. Silk also reveals that the woman murdered is Rai’s actual mother…that he isn’t just a construct, he is in fact part human! Much like Spylocke, Silk is trying to prepare Rai for some world shattering news…as Spylocke takes aim at Rai!

Holy crap, what is going on in future Japan! This series has just jumped to my #2 favorite series spot, its that good! The art is fantastic, the world is interesting and the story is so good that I want issue #4 right now. What are the secrets that Rai needs to know and how will this whole arc play out? Will we see Earth? Is there even a Father? Is it August already?

Recommended

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Review: Rai #2

Rai #2Title: Rai #2

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Matt Kindt (writer) with Clayton Crain (artist)

Rai keeping his calm, uses his strength, bravery and abilities to find his way back into Japan after being expelled into space at the end of the last issue. Once back inside, Rai quickly defeats his attacker and continues investigating the first murder in Japan in over 1000 years. When he discovers that the woman is not registered, the girl Luna, tells Rai of an analogue system that the rebels have secretly been keeping in an old library card catalog system. When they get there, they discover that the woman’s information has been checked out by one of Japan’s most important individuals, Augustus Silk. Rai pays Silk a visit and retrieves that needed info after much deliberating. Rai gives Luna the card catalog because Father has detected Rebel activity. Rai transports to the scene, where the Rebels are attempting to destroy Japan’s solar collectors and plunge the city back to the Earth below. As Luna discovers why the woman was killed and receives a visit from Spylocke, Rai stops all but one of the bombs, and is forced to sacrifice himself in order to contain the blast.

Another gorgeous and action-packed issue of Valiant’s premiere future title. The world of Rai is wonderful and every page gives you more and more to soak up and experience. I know that there’s something larger going on here, I just don’t know what it is yet. This series is also THE most beautiful book I currently read! If you love comics because of their art, then you NEED to get this title. A great story, set in a very interesting future, with beautiful visuals, what’s not to like?

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