Rai 1: Welcome to New Japan

rai volume 1 welcome to new japan cover trade paperback tpb
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Interesting character and story set-up

Short collection

Comic Info

Comic Name: Rai (Volume 2)

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Writer: Matt Kindt

Artist: Clayton Crain

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2014

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Rai (2) #1

Reprints Rai (2) #1-4 (April 2014-August 2014). It is 4001 A.D., and there has been a murder in Japan. It is the first murder in years, and Rai has been dispatched by Father to solve the crime. Luna Lee finds herself teamed with the legendary warrior in a quest to find the source of the murder, and in the process, Rai could discover that everything he thought he knew about his life is a lie.

Written by Matt Kindt, Rai Volume 1: Welcome to New Japan is a Valiant Comics collection. The series features art by Clayton Crain and was also collected as part of Rai Deluxe Edition.

Rai was always one of the more interesting Valiant titles in the original run. Like Magnus Robot Fighter, he battled unstoppable evils and he did it with a code of ethics that was an old style of chivalry. I was kind of surprised that Rai wasn’t launched sooner into the Valiant relaunch, but I’m glad it finally surfaced.

The story has Rai discovering he’s essentially a pawn while tracking down Dr. Silk (a villain re-introduced in Unity). He finds his past is a lie and that he’s just “another Rai” in a long line of heroes. Father may or may not be an out and out villain and the blurring of those lines is generally what makes for interesting characters.

rai #4 cover minecraft variant

Rai (2) #4

One problem with Rai in that sense is that he’s too perfect and too perfected. The story humanizes Rai by having it told basically from the perspective of Luna Lee. It isn’t a straight-up perspective switch, but her character does serve as a nice guiding character for Rai (in contrast to Father).

The series is aided by nice, solid art by Clayton Crain. He has a nice grasp on illustrating action, but he also has the characters having a fair amount of dialogue and building sequences that work as well. The comic is pretty dark and it would be nice to see Rai fighting during the day or something.

Rai shows a lot of potential in this volume. I like where Kindt is going with the story, and I think the characters are interesting enough to carry the story forward. I like conflicted heroes, and Rai appears to be struggling by walking the line between loyalty to Father, loyalty to Japan, and loyalty to himself…and he must choose his path. Rai 1: Welcome to New Japan is followed by Rai 2: Battle for New Japan.

Related Links:

Rai 2:  Battle for New Japan

Rai 3:  The Orphan

Rai 4:  4001 A.D.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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