Rai 3: The Orphan

rai volume 3 the orphan cover trade paperback tpb
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Interesting story

Feels like a small piece of a bigger picture rather than a cohesive collection

Comic Info

Comic Name: Rai (Volume 2)

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Writer: Matt Kindt

Artist: Clayton Crain

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2016

rai #9 cover variant

Rai #9 Variant

Reprints Rai (2) #9-12 (August 2015-December 2015).  Rai is stranded on Earth and seeking a way to raise an army to rival Father…and his only hope could be in the Warrior.  On New Japan, Lula, Grace, and the Geomancer are on a quest to free Spylocke from Father’s grasps and avenge Rai while Momo and Izak seek to liberate Izak’s people from Father’s control.  Father is being painted into a corner, and Father doesn’t intend to lose.

Written by Matt Kindt, Rai Volume 3:  The Orphan is a Valiant Comics cyberpunk superhero comic book collection.  Following Rai Volume 2:  Battle for New Japan, the series features art by Clayton Crain and issues in this collection were also featured in Rai Deluxe Edition.

Valiant was sometimes a tough read in the 1990s.  The characters just seemed a bit off.  They didn’t fit the Marvel or DC mold nor were they just the flash of the Image launch titles.  This strangeness does carry over a bit into the new Valiant line, but it is a good transition that has an urgency and freeness that a lot Marvel and DC don’t possesses.

rai #12 cover variant

Rai #12 Variant

It feels like anything can happen in the Valiant books, and since Valiant isn’t as steeped in mythos, it can.  The characters can die and the characters can go in directions that you don’t expect.  There is a strange “echo” with Valiant which somewhat echoes some of the old titles but also echoes within the series themselves.  Things happening in the “future” in Rai have ties to the past.  This volume starts to really dive into Gilad (aka the Eternal Warrior) and his mission to protect the Geomancer which ties back to the “present day” stories being told in books like Eternal Warrior and Bloodshot.

The big downside to this collection is the length.  The story collects the full four issue storyline “The Orphan”, but it feels pretty slim.  The event surrounding Rai, Momo, and Lula feel like they all could have been expanded.  Comic book writing is tough today in that you don’t always get the chance to tell a story the way you want with collections, and the cutthroat nature of cancellation, but I wish that the storyline was at least a six issue story.  The flipside of this is that Rai seems to really flow and I don’t feel that even with six issues that the story would be a stand-alone (which isn’t really a bad thing).

Rai is chugging along, and Rai 3:  The Orphan feels like another step in a bigger saga.  Kindt is building to something, and as a series of collections, Rai doesn’t necessarily get the bigger picture.  Rai is a good read and an interesting character (it also feels odd not to have him tied to Magnus Robot Fighter as he was in the earlier days of Valiant).  This volume marks the penultimate collection in the series.  Rai 3:  The Orphan is followed by the event series tie-in Rai 4:  4001 AD.

Related Links:

Rai 1:  Welcome to New Japan

Rai 2:  Battle for New Japan

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @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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