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Rai #10 Review
RAI #10 is a wild and gripping science fiction epic. It is written by Dan Abnett, art by Juan José Ryp & Beni Lobel, coloring by Andrew Dothouse and lettering by Dove Sharpe.
Rai is published by Valiant Entertainment.
About Rai #10
There’s something kind of fun about picking up a single issue of a comic you’ve never read and just diving in. All the more so when it’s the last issue of a long arc. But these are comic books, friends, and comic books are serialized–designed, at their best, to allow entry at any page 1, whether the first issue or the fiftieth.
So here I am with Valiant’s Rai #10 in my hands–the self-proclaimed “thrilling climax of the sci-fi epic of 2020!”
Honestly, it’s not bad.
The Rai #10 Story
This finale opens with Raijin, a cyborg child (long story) panicking over the death of Alice Klane at the hands of Tekus. Meanwhile, Rai goes to town on Fusion and a truck ton of Positron androids while also trying to stop something called “The Dark” from destroying the future city of New Ur.
Meanwhile, in Hinansho City, a giant, sentient elephant man named Chief Orta’ka and Lula are scrambling to stop the Red King from hacking into their systems and finding their location. They successfully mislead him into sending his androids to the wrong location, and in doing so lose the consciousness of someone named “Ray Garrison,” who is rendered “no more than ghost code.”
Ultimately, Alice’s body wakes up and seems to have Ray Garrison’s mind inside, New Ur is completely destroyed, Rai is spared in the melee, and the Dark identifies itself as “the Darque,” while recruiting Rai to kill the Red King.
Dan Abnett does a top-notch job with a pretty massive sci-fi world. His most remarkable skill is sprinkling future-fantasy language in dialogue without letting it drag down his narrative. He uses just enough techno-babble to jolt readers into the 41st century, still allowing his characters to speak authentically and with believable emotion.
The Rai Art
Ryp nicely captures the post-apocalyptic vibe in this book. There’s a lot going on from page to page, and they capture the action while maintaining a feeling of almost joyful fun in all of the violence and destruction. Despite the literal annihilation of a city, at no point does this book feel “gritty” or downbeat, which is genuinely refreshing. Dothouse’s colors tie it all together, and at times are reminiscent of bandes dessinées.
There is a distinct change in art tone in the last few pages of the comic, which presumably are done by Lobel. The work here isn’t bad, but is different enough to be jarring, which is unfortunate specifically because it is the end of the end of a story. There is a lot of disorienting and hard-to-follow content in this story for the uninitiated, and having an additional struggle of acclimating to visual differences does take away from the overall experience a bit.
So hey, I’ve literally never read an issue of Rai before. I can honestly say that I was able to follow along pretty well, and that the story was interesting enough to be worth reading more of. The leaning on homophonic names (Rai/Ray, Dark/Darque) was a bit confusing, in that if these things were spoken aloud, as they presumably are among the characters in the story, I’m not sure the effect that reading them allows would be as evident, but I’m willing to look past that.
There was some fun sci-fi weirdness, I loved the elephant man, and watching Rai slash through waves of androids was worth the cost of admission. This is apocalypse popcorn. Rai #10 is guilt-free fun – a kickass joyride into the future that’s sure to satisfy readers’ futuristic itch.
Rai #10 is available from December 16th, 2020 at your local comic book store.
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